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i,i^?!i,n^E'??0_PUBLIC LIBRARY " ^ 


♦792.079 Un3^ B 549897 


I «417-»M— IO*«i 



Wo»k Projects Adrnini strati on 

13 bS 


San Francisco Theatre Research 

Vol. 14 


A Monograph History 

of the 

San Francisco Stage 

And Its People From 

1849 to the Present 


Edited hy 

Volume XIV 



San Francisco 


nsored hy the City and bounty or San Fran6l3co 
Project 1 0677, 0. P. 665-08-5-167 

Work Projects i-\dmlnistratlon 

V/llllam R. Laws on. State Administrator 




PART ONE (1850 - 1870) 1-130 

I In the Beginning . ^ 1 

II Gilbert and Planche 2 

III Take-0ff3 and Pirns 4 

IV Box and Cox 7 

V Doctor Collyer 10 

VI Lola's Pas Seul 12 

VII Blaclcface Bxn'lesque 15 

VIII Arrival of the English 20 

IX The Rise of the Melodeons 23 

X New Piornittire for an Old Hang-Out. ... 31 

XI A Burlesque Tempest. 34 

XII Melodeon Undercurrent 37 

XIII Greek Myth Through London Fog 40 

XIV A Miner Sees A Burlesque Faust 44 

XV Inside a Melodeon 46 

XVI Three Fast Men for Ten Nights 50 

XVII The Marsh Juvenile Comedians 52 

XVIII Maguire and the Seven Sisters 54 

XIX A Free Ride for the State Senate .... 56 

XX Mazeppa Comes to Tovm 61 

XXI Boucicault's Arrah-na-Pogue, 63 

XXII Lady Don 70 

XXIII The Elfin Star 76 

XXIV The Black Crook 78 

XXV Under the Gaslight -- After Dark .... 90 

XXVI Commedia dell 'Arte and the Martinettis , 96 

XXVII Elise Holt 109 

XXVIII Blondes Invade Classical Ballet 116 

XXIX Lydia Thompson 121 

PART TWO (1870 - 1900) 131-269 

XXX H-umpty DumptT and the Lone Fisherman . . 131 

XXXI Prophecy of the Bella Union 135 

XXXII The Zavistowskis 137 

XXXIII Tony Denier as tlumpty Dumpty 140 

XXXIV Blanche and Ella Chapman 142 


^a f 






XXXV Dark Times for B\irlesque 145 

XXXVI The Forrolls 152 

XXXVII Jack and Jill 155 

XXXVIII Desperate Revivals 158 

XXXIX A Trip to the Moon 163 

XL Grimaldi and the Decline of Pantomime • 168 

XLI Edward "Everlasting" Rice 171 

XLII Struggle for Survival 185 

XLIII More Revivals 192 

XLIV Willie Edouin and the Emerson Minstrels 196 

XLV Burlesque in Pantomime. ..,...,. 199 

XLVI Botticelli and Big Bertha 208 

XLVII Provincial Consciousness. , 214 

XLVIII Harry Dixey 217 

XLIX Two Long, Profitless Trips 221 

L Pay Templeton . 225 

LI The Black Crook Resuscitated 230 

LII Lydia Thompson's Farewell Totir 231 

LIII The Kiralfy Ballot 234 

LIV David Henderson 237 

LV Extravaganza at the Tlvoli. • 247 

LVI Beginnings of Ragtime 251 

LVII The Ten Gay Years 253 

PART THREE (1900 - 1906) 270-295 

LVIII V/ober and Fields 270 

LIX Kolb and Dill 275 

IX Local Writers of B-urlcsquo 281 

LXI The Bui^lesque v-Iheol at the California , 286 

LXII Shifting Background 289 

PART FOUR (1907 - 1940) 296-316 

LXIII The Big Shows 296 

LXIV Theatrical Background for the Big Shows 304 

LXV Visible Signposts 312 



INDEX 321-341 



As in the case of MIFSTRELSY, which 
has not yet achieved the distinction of separate 
historical treatment in the literature of the 
stage, the growth and development of th:it fa- 
miliar, unrefined enterta3.nment called BUR- 
LESQUE has not attracted an hist or ian, and is to 
be traced only in scattered 'Sources. This mono- 
graph, of commercial book .length, should prove 
a fair first step tov/ard remedying the situ- 
ation, for though the locale is San Francisce, 
the national, even international aspects of bur- 
lesque have not been deprived of brief iiotice. 
Similarly, the outstanding burlesques performed 
in San F'rancisco were performed also in New 
York and other centers throughout the country, 
often with the same stars or casts. Public 
reaction, too, vas similar, so that this his- 
tory may be said to be a representative one, at 
least as far as the general may be inferred 
from the particular. 

The monograph takes up burlesque in 
its earliest aspects, thoxigh the form is not 
ancient — even as a literary appellation -- and 
certainly the character of performance so desig- 
nated on the modern American stage is quite 
young. John Hollingshead, writing in 1898, 
pointed out that the very word "burlesque" was 
unlmown in France or England before 1640 or 
1650. Historically, we have burlesque which v.^as, 
as this monograph explains, "an urceremonious 
take-off on a staid original," composed pro- 
gressively in rhymed verse, partly in prose 
dialogue, and finally In prose .Today, a- 'cevelcs^ 
ment of the nineteenth century, we have an ex- 
tension of all these forms, and especially of 
the era of the sixties and seventies, of ""tl- 
araod and plumed nudity," the smutty double 
entendre, the obscene gesture — all of this a 
development or off-shoot of the Manhattan musi- 
cal revue, with the radicalism of its runway 
over the seats and heads of the audience to the 
final anarchism of the strip tease. This mono- 
graph has carefully and authentically woven into 
a significant narrative the story of burlesque 
in all its varied form and color. 



Louise Montague, Lydia Thompson, Pauline Mark- 
ham, Mable Santley,Adah Richmond, Viola Clifton 




Stormy Petrel of BTirlesque 


Directress of the Famous British Blondes 


Favorites of Burlesque 


In the Burlesque of "The Two Orphans" 


Two Prominent Burlesquers of the 1870 's 


Toast of the Mauve Decade 


In the Role of "The Toymaker" 


The Favorite New York Burlesque Quartette 


In "Playing the Ponies" at Fischer's Theatre 


Leading Lights at Fischer's Theatre in the Early 1900 's 


In Two Burlesque Roles at Fischer's Theatre 


07 L 



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(1850 - 1870) 


Colley Clbber was moved to write an "Apology" for 

the condition of the contemporary English stage of the late 

eighteenth century: 

"... (the playhouses of London) . . .were reduced 
to have recourse to foreign novelties: L'Abbo, 
Balon, and Mademoiselle Suhligny, three of the 
then most famous dancers of the French opera, 
were at several times brought over at extraor- 
dinary rates, to revive that sickly appetite 
which plain sense and nature had satiated. But 
alasi there was no recovering to a sound con- 
stitution by those merely costly cordials; the 
novelty of a dance was but of a short duration, 
and perhaps hurtful in its consequence; for it 
made a play without a dance less endured than 
it had been before, when such dancing was not 
to be had." 

The age of Alexander Pope, the age of compressed, 
aristocratic wit, the age of a deliberately circumscribed 
complacency, of narrow, upper-class, classically schooled 
communication was over. The people crowded into the "minor 

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Burlesque 2 

theatres'' looking for and applauding some approximate re- 
flection of their ov/n lives. 

Jaraes Stark heroically sounded the abnjidoned ideas 
of the classic repertory across the boards of the Jenny Lind 
Theatre cf San Francisco for several weelcs corirnencing November 
5, 1850. VfLien Stark and his v;ife headed a return coiiraany to 
San Francisco in 1060, a decade of change was there to nuffle 
the applause. The Bulletin for June Q, 18S1 announces a the- 
atrical benefit for Stark, Stark's friends were not only 
bolstering him up v/xth practical s;yT.ipathy|they v/ere also lay- 
ing the ghost of a noncontemporary form. That benefit program 
consisted o3? a portion of the second act of Henry IV , includ- 
ing the death scene, topped of 3" by the farcical afterpiece cf 
Jumbo Jim ; and the drama of the Irish finigrant, or Temptation 
vs. Riches . 


W. S. Gilbert learned the tricks of his trade by 
deflating the romantic afflatus of the contemporary opera. 
The Pretty Druldess , an extravaganza founded on Bellini's 
opera. Norma, the last burlesque v/ritten by Gilbert before he 
stepped over the faint line dividing burlesque from operetta, 

closes with this speech! 

(Norma coiues forward) 

So ends our play, I come to speak the tag, 

vifith dovmcast eyes, and faltering stops, tliat lag, 

I'm cowed and conscience-stricken--f or tonight 

Yi/e have, no doubt, contributed our mite 

To justify that topic of the age, 

The degradation of the English stage. 

More courage to my task, I, p'rhaps might bring. 

Were this a drama with real everything-- 

Real cabs-.-real lime-light, too in which to bask~- 

Real turnpike-keepers, and real Grant and Gas].:'. 

Burlesque 3 

But no— the piece is coinmon-place, grotesque, 
A solemn f oll7--a proscribed burlesque I 
So for burlesque I plead. Forgive our rhymes; 
Forgive the jokes you've heard five thousand times j 
Forgive each breakdovm, cellar-flap, and clog. 
Our low-bred songs — our slangy dialogue; 
And, above all — oh, ye with double barrel — 
Forgive the scantiness of our apparel I 

And the people did forgive, because they were for- 
giving their own familiar world. They were beholding and 
forgiving their ovm rowdy discomfiture with the artistic 
niceties and subtleties of the upper classes. And the ab- 
solution was legal and complete because it was administered 
in a public place and openly paid for. This excerpt from 
Gilbert — aside from its merit — is valuable because it is 
so self-conscious of the form of the burlesque. 

One of tho repercussions to the rise of the bur- 
lesque was a corresponding rise of the fairyland morality 
play. Appended to the outline of "The Argument" of such a 
play (Babil and Bijou by James Robinson Plancho) is this 

"This scone is intended to shadow forth the 
revolutionary changes that arc taking place in 
poetry and art. Our aspiring meditative spirit 
(Melusine) has descended from the world of 
ideas to the world of business. The pixrer 
power is dethroned, and fact (Pragma), with her 
son, investigation (Skepsis), are the reigning 
influences in our minds. The working-classes 
of thought are thus displacing the higher 
powers of imagination."''^ 

* This note was written by Dion Boucicault, one of the many 
well-knovm actor -playwrights who came to San Francisco in 
the 1870s. to star with the famous stock company at the 
California Theatre on Bush Street. He was later Maxine 
Elliott's tutor. 


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Burlesque 4 

Both of the foregoing quotations, no matter hov/ 
revealing of the sensibility of the period, to the present- 
day reader seem tangential to the burlesque itself; and this 
is alv/ays the case with contenporary descriptions of an ob- 
ject, the exact details of which were taken for granted. 

How, more particularly, can the burlesque be dis- 
tinguished — the burlesque in its true form, as apart from 
the more muddled forms which preceded it, were coexistent with 
it, and follov/ed it? 

In the first place, the burlesque was an uncere- 
monious take-off of a staid original. Burlesques were often 
described as "travesties." Not only the current opera, but 
the current polite "cup-and-saucer" play as well, stimulated 
its ovm distorted, critical reflection in a counterpart bur- 
lesque. Norma in one instance became Mrs. Nprmer ; La Sonnam - 
t>ula became The Roof Scrambler ; The Bohemian Girl became The 
Merry Zingara. or The Tipsy Gipsy and The Pipsy Wipsy ; The 
Bayadere, or The Maid of Gashraere was twisted around to Buy 
It Dear, It's Made of Caslimere ; Manfred was merely hyphenated 
into Man-Fred ; La Figlia del Reggimento was made obvious by 
La Vivandiere or True to the Corps . 

The puns inherent in these titles indicate a qual- 
ity inherent in the v;hole burlesque; inherent in the whole 
nineteenth century which pursued an aggravated pleasure 
in the mesmerizing thoughtlessness of endless p\;ins : 

>» III; 

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Papal Listen, and forgive me. 

He once paid his addresses to me. 


Did he? He doesn't do it now, or he'd have 

PUT A STM1P on his letter. 


If a ship's feminine, how can she 'oo a 



To business :- 

The Gfovemor of Tllh'ry we suspect 

Of doing ev'rything that's not correct. 

He is accused of systematic robbery, 

Of bribery, corruption and of jobbery; 

Of mixing birch brooms with the tea: 'tis odd 

If where he's spared no birch we spare the rod. 

His men he's worked, half wages, overtime; 

He has sent coals to Nev/castle J--a crime 

So coaled--! mean, so called--by those v/ho've spoke 


His books, v;hich not one proper entry leavens, 

Will all be found at sixes and at sevens, 

Like gloves. If oroved, he'll be, the law advises. 

Tried, at the PITTING TIME, at the next 'SIZES. 

These quotations, italics included, are from Elizabeth, or 
The Invisible Armada , an ''Original Burlesque" by P. C. Bur- 
nand. Joseph Severn, with forv/ard, unseeing solicitation, ac- 
companied Johji Keats to his death in Italy in 1820. Prom 
quarantine in the harbor of Naples, Severn wrote to their 
friend William Hazlitt in England: 

"...V/e are in good spirits and I may say hope- 
ful fellov/s — at least I may so.y as much for 
Keats — he made an Italian pun today — the rain 
is coming down in torrents....''""* 

Early in the 1870s, P. C. Burnand wrote a bur- 
lesque '^lartly in prose dialogue, which was a nev/ departure."'"''* 

•jfr Sharp, Willis.m Th e Life and Letters of Joseph Severn . 
-"-*Burnand , Sir F. "UT (English ~dra:nat is t) Records and Rem 



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Burlesque 6 

A departure from another typical quality of the "classical" 
burlesque: coupleted iambic pentameter. The elegant, inci- 
sive couplet of the late eighteenth century had relaxed in 
burlesque to the limited subtlety of a two-faced rhyme. 

And the audience craned their necks for the double 
meaning throughout the traditional five scenes of the story, 
played v;ithout interval. It v;as not until approximately 1885 
that the three-act form of the burlesque appeared. 

If the staid original was an opera, the musical el- 
ement of the burlesque was conveniently available. If the 
burlesque referred to a serious play of the period, or was 
"original," the music became an eclectic, nearly as possible 
appropriate, embellishment. Elizabeth by P. C. Burnand is de- 
scribed on its title page as an original burlesque. The mu- 
sic however commanded the following universality: an air 
from Herve's Chilperic ; a trio from Balfe's The Bohemian Girl ; 
an air by Christy, "Would I Were a Little Bird"; another air, 
"The Mermaid" by Macfarren; together with a number of tunes 
so popular that the authors are not indicated: "Turn it Up"; 
"Love Not"; "Where Has My Dolly Gone?"; "Rocky Road to Dub- 
lin"; "For England, Home and Beauty." The solo singing was 
enhanced by choral backgrounds of introductory music, finales, 
and intermediate dancing. The group dancing derived from the 
Italian school of the ballet, based on shorter, more con- 
stricted movements than those of the Russian school which 
gained currency at the txirn of the century. Most of the bal- 
lerinas of the burlesque houses of the nineteenth century 


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Burlesque V 

were Italian or at least shrewdly favored. Italian names. 

These particular characteristics of the burlesque 

took earliest and clearest shape in France. William Dunlap, 

in his History of the American Theatre published in 1832, 

writes : 

"It appears, however, that in Prance, as v/ell as 
in England, the minor theatres take the lead in 
popularity and fashion. The most prolific and 
successful dramatists of Paris have devoted 
their time and talents to the vaudeville or pe- 
tite comedie, and other prodiictions, distinct 
from the legitimate tragedy and comedy of good 
old times. Legitiinacy is out of fashion even at 
the theatre. .. .But v;hat is most extraordinary, 
these French manufacturers produce wares of a 
very su;,')orior quality, at least in comparison 
with their English neighbours, and supply not 
only the Parisian, but the London and American 
market. . .Mons. Eugene Scribe and his collabo- 
rateurs pour out comedy, opera, farce or pieces 
uniting the three, and a spice of tragedy in 
the bargain, and all full of interest, wit,_ inci- 
dent — in short, delightful performances.'' 


With a single, swift gesture, the Gold Rush placed 
a makeshift city of twenty to thirty thousand people on the 
shores of San Francisco Bay where a few months before had 
been only five thousand. Culture did not have time to become 
indigenous. The theatrical traditions of New York and London 
came West intact. 

In 1848, even before the Gold Bush, California's 
first theatre at Monterey Avas resounding to the same farcical 
humor that had already titillated the crowds in the big east- 
ern cities. Colonel Stevenson's volunteer regiment at the 

..-:y-.-yTo;t8lH ' e 1 1 

Burlesque 8 

Monterey garrison had been disbanded. By way of artiuslng them- 
selves (there v;as no audience to speak of), several famous 
English farces \?ere presented: Damon and Pythias « Nan , the 
Good for Nothinp; , and ospecially Bpy: and Cox * John Madison 
Morton's conception of Cox, the journeyman hatter, and Box, 
the journc^Tman printer, proved to be the perennial idea in all 
the nineteenth century farces. At one point, Arthur Sullivan 
v/rote rausic for a libretto taken by F. C. Burnand from Mor- 
ton's original. The old quarrel for the room in which 
Cox slept by ni.ght and Box by day, is still very lively in 
V/, H. Audcn's Dance of Death and Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle 
Will Rock . Sullivan called his duct "The Otrajigor": 

COX: \i/ho arc you, sir? Tell me, who? 

Box: If you come to that sir, who arc you? 

Cox: Wiio are YOU sir? 

Box: ^'Vhat's that to you, sir? 

Cox: what's that to who, sir? 

Box: W:.\o, sir?-~You, sir. 

Cox: (aside): Yesl 'tis the printer. 

Box: (aside): Yesl 'tis the hatter. 

But farces were mere "afterpieces" to the big show. 
The big show was a burlesque, an extravaganza. Stephen C. 
Mas sett* knev/ that. Anybody "in the theatre" in 1850 knew 
that. And Massett was handicapped; he was alone. 1/Vhen on 
June 22, 1849, Massett gave his historical "One Man Concert" 
in the Courthouse on Portsmouth Square the makings of a bur- 
lesque company were certainly not — for any man's asking -- 

«- See Monograph on Stephen C. Massett , Vol. I, this series. 

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Burlesque 9 

in San Francisco. The male aggression on the gold fields had 
dehumanized itself, and it was not until the successful (and 
umsuccessful) miners fell back again upon the rising town 
that they demanded their lives be complotely furnished. 
Massett, reflecting the theatrical spirit of the time, heroi- 
cally interspersed the sentimental ballads on his program 
with three burlesque numbers : 

"Imitation of an elderly lady and a German girl 

who applied for the situation of soprano and 

alto singers in one of the churches of Massa- 

"Imitation of Madame Anna Sishop in her song, 
•The Banks of the Guadalquivirt '" 

"Yankee Imitation, 'Deacon Jones and Seth Slope* •" 

On October 22, 1849 the Philadelphia Minstrels per- 
formed at the opening of the Bella Union gambling resort. 
October 29, 1849 Rowe's Olympic Circus"'*" was opened with a 
company made up of three equestrians, one clown, two slack- 
rope dancers and a ringmaster. January 16,1850 a group of pro- 
fessional playt3rs, after great success in Sacramento, started 
an engagement in a second story hall at the rear of the old 
Alta California newspaper office. Their opening night con- 
sisted of The Wife by J. Sheridan Knowles; Charles II, or The 
Merry Monarch by John Howard Payne and Washington Irving j and 
the "laughable farce" The Sentinel. "^^ During the following' 

•?«■ See Monograph on Joseph A. Rowe , Vol* I, this series. 
■«-»This company found It almost impossible to procure dramatic 

scripts in California. They paid one ounce of gold dust 

for a copy of the farce. Box and Cox . 

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■-■■'■••' ''''■'■'• ^-•■•■■' r,rtX*ii^ **• X'v'TJxJ^T'jS -r:/" ■'*''^,.^ ■-'•'• .>•'••'• >,;"" .:-^<," 

Burlesque 10 

summer on August 13, 1850 the AthenaeiAm was opened by Dr. 
Collyer and his model artists In their living tableaux. 

The Doctor and his company had been driven from 
their New York success by that same Philistinism which made 
museums of all the new and popular music halls — a camouflage 
of educational taxidermy, concealing a theatre somev^here in 
the dark interior. This same uncritical spirit denounced the 
polka as the "Hungarian camp dance, a step for boorish sol- 
diers." In the Brooklyn Sagle for February 8, 1847, Walt 
Whitman lent his hand to the flagellation: 

"We don't like to make these sweeping assertions 
in general,— but the habit of such places as the 
Bovfery, the Chatham, and the Olympic theatres is 
really beyond all tolerationj and if the New 
York prints who give dramatic notices, were not 
the slaves of the paid puff system, they surely 
would sooner or later be 'dovm' on those miser- 
able burlesques of the histrionic art." 

In this same article, Vihitman goes on to deplore both the 

English influence upon drama, and the star system. He ends 

vath the plea: 

"...some American it must be, and not moulded 
in the opinions and long established ways of 
the English stage, — if he should take high 
ground, revolutionize the drama, and discard 
much that is not fitted to present tastes and 
to modern ideas, — engage and encourage American 
talent. . .look above merely the gratification 
of the vulgar and of those who love glittering 
scenery — give us American plays too, matter 
fitted to American opinions and institutions-- 
our belief is he would do the Republic service 
and himself too, in the long ru.n. 


; fX - - 

jli.: ,^'^X1 ,. 

Burlesque 11 

With a swarm of much less intelligent statements 

than this one of V/hltraan echoing in his ears. Doctor Collyer 

opened his show in San Francisco. His troupe of shapely 

girls exliiblted (vvlth "classical accuracy" according to the 

Evening Picayune ) their incarnations of cliche-paintings and 

encylopedia sculpture. The Evening Picayune of August 30,1850, 

very pleased with the show, stepped forward for Doctor Collyer: 

"So far, however, as we can understand the de- 
signs of the exliibitor, it is the farthest pos- 
sible from his wish or intention to pander to 
any raorbld curiosity or vicious imagination. 
His purpose is to illustrate by living forms, 
the works of some of the greatest masters in 
sculpture and painting that over lived.... 

"l;Ye Txnder stand. . .that the Doctor has determined 
to erect a new and spacious Kail, that shall 
be amply coiTimodlous for his own representations, 
and such as shall aff oixi conveniences, not now 
to be had, for all other forms of rational en- 
tertainment and arnusoment. 

"We are happy to learn that the conductors of 
the Museum and of the Circus, are about to imi- 
tate the example set by Dr. Collyer, in giving 
the proceeds of an evening's performance to the 
fund, for the relief of distressed emigrants. 
The amount realized and contributed by Dr. C-« 
for the object was f*158.00." 

The "new and spacious Hall," erected by Collyer on 
Clay Street between Kearny and Montgomery, and called the 
Adelphl, was opened October 17, 1850. The follov/ing adver- 
tisement appeared in the Picayune for the November 14 per- 
foraiance i 

"Adelphl Theatre — Clay St. The performance will 
commence this evening v;lth a representation of 
ancient deities by the Model Artists. After 
which the Maudit farally v;ill dance In costtome. 
The Cossack Dance to conclude with The Combat 
of the Mac. .. (Illegible) . 

:^J- Of/pee fijjS 

-'■bum Ic -n-imja r rioV!'' 
.od ,aiB9 aid nl i\nlorioe [iBa'tsr^^ to ©no eiriJ nsricf 
\;I jqiiria lo oqisoii 8i;H .or>ai6hjet'^ nsS. ctl v/orTa alrC ben-aqo 
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»I. . - ■/ 'iO \^d ^t.OX'ViJ'O 

IX ^^i s ctoaio O.J. 

,.■=;. ••rir.'OO x^q:r^ oH 

"HO I.-. ■ xlXi lOl t.O.CfV 06 Oo 

/jiiyirtoanrtiB jdhb ■tiior.ij.iXAJ'V'.'r 
Ir • lol OCT X'-I" 

rro- •iO-cIIoO t<^ Jb.^ioe-T^ "i-XXdH RwoIoBqa 6xxB wen" srfT 
-";->v:->n r-j-;/.."- .1 .^'6f.;X ^•.VI i90'oJ-oO X>9aoqc em/ ^ Ir'qXeJbA 

I soitc>(srTo*l 

Burlesque 12 

''Private boxes, ii53, Parquette $2, Upper Tier ^1» 
No smoking allpv;ed. An efficient police officer 
in attendance,'' 

And so we find Doctor Gollyer intrenched in the life 
of the tovm to the extent of delivering a lecture on choleraj 
accompanied by the conspicuous publicizing of testimonial 
letters from "the great Dr. Cooper of London, and confirmed 
by Dr. Valentine Mott of '^ew York,'' 

In the meantime, the Iviodel ^^rtists were doing ex- 
cellent spadework for the bLirlesque, The vociferously justi- 
fied "living pictures" were, after all; a line-up of girls « 
The arrested dynamics of these disclosed limbs were the pseu- 
doclassic progenitors of the full-cast tableaux which lat- 
er v/ere to punctuate the scenes of the burlesques. The good 
doctor was trying to bridge nineteenth century prudery (with 
its concomitant sentimentality for the old and classical) 
and the popular demand. He was doing little more than pre- 
senting burlesques without action or music. The prudes in 
New York for a short time were victorious^ and Dr* Collyer 
was forced to retire to immense popularity in San Francisco* 
With clever solemnity and with a time-hallowed original as 
alibi, he was giving the people what they v/anted, 

The fourth of San Francisco's six great fires oc- 
curred June 14, 1850, The meteoric renascence of the phoenix 
city commenced again on a higher level j San Francisco, almost 
as if by means of the conflagrations, was catching up with the East- 
ern Seaboard, At the corner of Kearny and Washington Streets, 


Burlesque ^.z, 

facing Portsmouth Square, the third Jenny Llnd theatre was 
persistently constructed out of the wreckage, and was opened 
October 4,, 1851. At this theatre, March 17, 1852, was pre- 
sented a burlesque by J, S. Coyne titled Pas de Fascination ; 
Lola Montez,or A Countess for an Hour t This piece (first per- 
formed in London In 1848) was really a one-act farce, A song 
at the opening and several possibilities for dancing during 
the progress of the action, are the only real marks of bur- 
lesque. The contemporary designation of this farce as a bur- 
lesque was no doubt based entirely upon its satirical char- 

The list of players at this performance is, so far, 
not available. But the text itself Is extant, and in a not 
too deadly fashion. The characters included; Count Muffenuff 
(Russian governor of Neveraskwehr ) , Kyboshki (Privy Counci- 
lor), Sllckwltz (Treasiirer) , Major Kutsoff Galopsky (an Eq- 
uerry), Tittlebatz (a Page), Michael Browsky (State Barber), 
Grippenhoff (Chief of Police), Stlffenbach (Gentleman Usher), 
Zephirlne Jollejambe (Lola Montez costumes ruby velvet rid- 
ing dress, hat and feather j change to a peasant boy's cos- 
tume), several covirt ladles, and then Katherine Kloper, a 

The story briefly: Zephlrine, in flight from over- 
assiduous Russian attention, abandons her carriage in Never- 
askwehr, She induces Katherine to impersonate her at the 
court until she will have had time to evade the police, Kath- 
erine, the poor, simple clear-starcher learns a great deal at 

,. pO'f.k'-t- 

^ ,-.1 ctC'bn: 

jj J. d i > . J ■ 

av':. ■■ 

• odrse _ 
>3nBfio ': • -tie if) yi:.. 

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■SO ;fj3?'i3 .q sx 

Burlesque 14 

court and exhibits to a high degree the supposed characteris- 
tics of the famous Lola. Michael, the state barber, who is 
betrothed to Katherine, unmasks her during the intimacies of 
a hairdressing; Zephirine, despite her ruse, is apprehended; 
and Katherine, with a fine, high, homely philosophy, renounces 
her quickl^'-- acquired splendour and returns to the coarse-spun 
simplicity of the song which opens the play; 

"in pattens and ytuff, through the street I»m a 

For nobody looks at the little clear-starcher . 
I'm free as a bird; and I would not change 

To ride like a duchess in ribbons and laces,'' 

As for the dancing, one stage direction reads: 
''Katherine does Lola»s celebrated pas seul," Another: "iCath- 
erlne dances a mock Cachuca, in which the governor, vifhose de- 
light is unbovinded, joins | they finish by liatherine throwing 
herself into an attitude on one leg, supported by the gover- 
nor,'" There is the moment, too, when Katherine, before a 
scandalized court, ogles the governor during a polka. 

Lola Montez, hov/ever, often leaves the spotlight of 

this farce for satire directed against the ladies of the 

court and the govei-nment officials. After the sudden downpour 

of gifts, Katherine ponders the open-sesame: 

"This pu.rse was slipped into my hand with^a 
mysterious hint about a government contract. This 
beautiful shawl is the homage of a munificent 
soap-boiler; and this diamond ring is connected 
in some way with the leather monopoly.'* 

The peak of the v;riting is reached in Michael's 
desolation upon the discovery of Katherine 's momentary inter- 
est in her nev^r position: 

Biorlesque ^^ 

"'Tis too clear — I'm a betrayed and blighted bar- 
ber '. How dare you look at me with that false 
front'. Don't come near me — don't — I'm desperate 
--I'm in a state of revolutionary excitement '.-- 
(in an exalted tone) I'll return home, and 
slaughter myself and my four innocent bears '.* 
I'll pile our agony upon the virtuous hearth- 
stone, whose peace you have broken forever, 
(with emotion) Oh, I&therine I I never thought 
our love, as was, v;ould ever come to this, as 
is. Farewell'. Parev/ell I perfidious maid, for- 

ever i 


The use of prose in Pas de Fascination points yet 
again to the farcical nature of the piece; genuine burlesque 
at this early stage was definitely metrical. 

The Gold Rush decade was also the burnt-cork dec- 
ade. A large part of the early evolution of American bur- 
lesque took place behind a Jim Crow grin and against a back- 
ground of back-bar murals. Bones and Tambo first marked the 
confines of the proscenium which was to witness the transi- 
tion from the sharp satire of early burlesque to the formless 
expansion of musical revue splendor. The tradition of biir- 
lesque and extravaganza was being crystallized in England by 
such ^nr-iters as Burnand and Planche^; the tradition of the 
minstrel show was taking shape in the American cities of the 
Eastern Seaboard. For several years these two theatrical 
forms were to converge often on the American stage. In San 
Francisco, June 14, 1852, a blackface burlesque of Balfe's 
much maligned Bohemian Girl was given at the Adelphi Theatre. 

•5i- The reference to tie pet bears is undoubtedly another jxbe 
directed bv the aiithor at Lola Montez's eccentricitxes. iiie 
fact that she had a bear for a pet caused much comment ana 

Burlesque 16 

On July 29, 1853 Dion Boucicault's The Corslcan Brot hers ac- 
quired the P. T. Barnum sideshow title of The Coarse-Haired 
Brothers in another 'blackface burlesque given at the San 
Francisco Hall. Macbeth , transformed in our ovm tirae "by an 
all Negro cast in New York City Into a study of Haitian voo- 
dooism, v/as given a burnt-cork lampooning in San Francisco in 
1855» From 1850 to 1359, sixty-six titles of burlesque, ex- 
travaganza, or musical farce appear on the regular bills of 
the minstrel shows to which the whole population of the new 
city was crowding.'"' 

An advertisement in the Daily Herald for July 1, 
1855 announces the first night of the "laughable burlesque"of 
Domino Noir, or The Masquerade . This burlesque, with Auber's 
The Black Domino for unfort-unate original, was performed by 
the San Francisco Minstrels. Although the burlesque v/as played 
hj such characters as '''a genuine dovm-Easter," "an opulent 
pavmbroker," and a "lovesick colored girl, fond of i^rasic " ■-- 
this main part of the program does not sound as interesting 
as the epilogue v/hich was describee, as "Actors in a Quandary, 
or Noisy and Barbarous Amusements." The characters for the 
epilogue form an incredible cotorio; "Hamlot, Mose in Cali- 
fornia, Irish Woman, Lady Macbeth, Bleeding Nun, and Othello." 
A duet, "Old King Crow," a "Polka Quadrille," and a musical 
finale are announced as "incidental to the burlesque." The 
customers are assured "a perpetual feast of nectared sv/eets, 
where no crude surfeit reigns." 

'"- Sec J^Iono graph on Minstrelsy , Vol. XIII, this series. 


i_, •;.: -i i . 


•mdl'ioq a.' 


tOo-wO ^ii 


Burlesque 17 

Of the burlesque opera Oh Hush, or The Virginia Cu - 
pids , which the San Francisco Minstrels performed on July 6, 
1855, the Daily Herald has preserved very little information. 
We know that the character Gumbo Cuff was played by the fa- 
mous minstrel, Sph Horn. Beyond that we have only this short 
notice in The Herald for July 7: 

"By particular request the burlesque of Oh Hush 
will be repeated. The piece is full of rich 
scenes illustrative of Nogro life, and one may 
witness it without becoming tired of its humor 
and characteristic songs and dances." 

Scejit notice of another burlesque by the San Fran- 
cisco Minstrels appears in the press of The Herald , Au- 
gust 11, 1855: 

"Mrs. Julia Collins taltos her first benefit at 
the hall this evening. Mrs. Collins has suc- 
ceeded beyond all expectation in adapting her- 
self to the peculiarities of Negro delineation — 
a line of character never attempted by a female. 
Her accomplishments as an actress and vocalist 
lose nothing of attraction, by the disguise of 
her person. The burlesque on the opera of the Bo - 
hemian Girl , which was received last night with 
torrents of applause, will be repeated on the 
occasion, with other perforroances." 

Of the blackface burlesque Conrad and Medora by 
William Brough, which opened at Maguire*s Opera House on Sep- 
tember 17, 1859, the Bulletin has this to say: 

"The burlesque (of Conrad and Medora ) is the 
old Corsair, produced by Mrs. V\/ood here: but 
with several new pieces of music introduced." 

This is an instance of a "legitimate" drama becom- 
ing a burlesque by the addition of a vocalized ballet. The 

. ■. &ri^ 10 ^riauK riO eio. 

-jj-A .BIjBIoK sn'T lo esc . .il ?>i,"}crn ald.'it^e 


-^ •-•■■■ ■'. 

ofi~ no b- 

:.Yse o:t.slrf,t e-arf - ^ -. 

Burlesque 18 

drama referred to is Corsair, or 'Hie Little Fairy at the Bot - 
tom of the Sea , by E, G, Holland, produced at Magulre's Opera 
House early in 1858, It cannot be said that Holland's drama 
was the undeniable, rock-bottom original for the take-off of 
the later burlesque; for the genealogy of a burlesque is very 
much like a Greek palimpsest, or more simply, an onion. And, 
further complication, when the parentage has been traced in 
one direction to the last obscure, deep-buried notation, a 
fresh, startling parentage crops up in another direction en- 
tirely. Burlesques v;ere very eclectic jobs. The climax of 
Conrad and Medora , for Instance, was a rousing ensemble to 
the tune of "Home Sweet Home.'' Medora, abducted (or saved) 
from a slave market (in Turkey, not Alabama), finds deep-sea 
oblivion In the arms of her abductor, the black-mustached cor- 
sair, Conrad. Submarina, Serena, and the other Sea-sprites 
dance about the happy vision which ominously resolves into a 
cheerful pictuj?e of deadly respectability: 


Madam, I've heard of fast young men in town, 

Desperate dogs, by marriage settled down-- 

Men, who for years would not go home till morning, 

Pound the domestic tea-table adorning; 

Smokers, I've heard, have put their pipes out — nay, 

I've even heard of latch-keys thrown away. 

Can love do this, and yet be unavailing 

To cure a paltry pirate's little falling? 

Let Conrad only get a loving wife. 

And on my word, he'll lead another life. 


You will retire from Corsair trade; 

Marry and live respectably, 


I've long been woary of the life I lead; 


o\^ elastic cr.: 
'::.-. vs':'. ?0v 


Burlesque 19 

So I'll reform, 


This is indeed felicityi 

Turn steady, and go in for domesticity; 
Stand for churchwarden, and the vestry sit on, 
Aye, and pay rates and taxes like a Briton, 

We have no record as to what the British taxes be- 
came in the California production; we can be svire that the 
line was localized in some sharp political manner, Blrbanto, 
the leader of the rebellious Corsairs, a Lucifer of nine- 
teenth century dimensions, minces no words, as the spokesman 
for the forces of evil, when their old leader, Conrad, first 
shows signs of his virtuous collapse; 


,♦, we've stood him long enough: 

A spoony, pining, sentimental muff: 

He's not at all ray notion of a Corsair, - 

I like black worsted curls and beard of horsehair: 

The good old heavy style of melodram. 

More like the individual I am. 

Yet the band love him: well, it is but right 

To own he is the very deuce to fight 

ViTaen he begins. No matter 1 we shall see 

Wiich they prefer to lead them — him or me I 

The miner down out of the hills in the Gold Rush de- 
cade had bought some new boots and a fine wool shirt, With the 
odor and swagger of barber shop re juvenation,he had sauntered 
up to the bar of the Bella Union; nothing on his hands but 
time and a pouch of concentrated pa^-^-dirt. The town was his. 
The drink in the glass sparkled with unbelievable magic 
after the tin cup and bottle of the camp in the hills. 
And the French restaurant around the corner had been almost 
intolerably comfortable, the meal a trifle elaborate, and 

,JT^.TO 10^ 

.7 :••• 

I f.."'r5- ecroc?''*! i.v: 


flri:} H^tfcf;v: -ii-^ B fins Mcfo: ■ bsri Olv 

Burlesque 20 

the cutlery somewhat complicated. And now while life in the 
all-night houses accelerated, there was the safe, economical 
relaxation of the theatre; more than likely a blackface bur- 
lesque. On February 3, 1856, it was Damon and Pythias> or The 
Executioners Outwitted , which recalled to the miner a night 
in the summer of 1855 when he had witnessed the undignified 
appearance of La Gazza Ladra as Cats in the Larder , In June 
1856, the play would be Forty Winks, or a Darky in Diffs . In 
1859, the alluring title would assume the cynicism of Medea , 
or The Best of Mothers , Or, for the exacerbating lack of wom- 
en in San Francisco at this time, there was the consolation 
of such a burlesque as Married and Buried , It was a great 
night, although the miner returned to the Bella Union and 
lost the rest of his cash in a few desperate flings at the 
wheel. But he would return, several months later, "heeled" 
again, — and the barber shop lotion would be as refreshing, 
and the drinks as sparkling, and the food as fancy, and the 
play even more diverting, 

Straight burlesque in the English tradition, with- 
out the addition of a burn-cork setting, also gained momentum 
in this same period, 1850-1859, Abcrx Hassan, or Hunt after 
Happiness , the biirlesque performed at Maguire's Opera House, 
September 24, 1859, is honestly described as a "semi-original 
fairy extravaganza in rhyme." Francis Talfourd, the author, 
gives us no source for the ''unoriginal" half of the burlesque; 

i^03 i^ci:. 

QXtul, nX 

no J- jcli-jcf 100 orio 3i;.v.v eaoiifcJ tOini;^ slrU c//^ vjv,^^x. 
?n9«i3 B Sir?; :JI ./^exj^A:!^ .fept- fj/:.J;tij3H p^ 

. ifcf OS z^rii ■ 

. .; ^^■■'i 10':- ' ■ '... "'>Ji.JoX ' . ' ■ -• ,• ' ■.■>■■ 

^ ■ • ill iiwV'w Tj^ij^jy' 

Burlesque 21 

it is the vague, much exploited background of the Arabian 
Nights . The burlesque writers themselves owe no debt to the 
characterization or subtlety of the oriental tales; the debt 
was entirely that of the costume designer. This romanticized 
Orient is but one more of the many heavy curtains between the 
nineteenth century and reality. An extravaganza or burlesque 
needed color; silk and tinsel were beautiful; ''exotic'' con- 
tours were exciting. The English were a little weary of the 
too native star on the forehead of Queen Mab;the internation- 
al conglomeration of deracinated folklore came on the scene. 

The splendor of the bm-'lesque extravaganzas origi- 
nated in the superficial sheen and texture of decayed myth. 
The burlesques had something to say; they were critical. But 
the words were angled through a spectacular facade of suspi- 
cious design. The musical colossi of the twenties, present- 
day descendants of the old burlesque, abandoned the -underly- 
ing framework completely; a meaningless flash of frantic 
and competitive expenditure was all that remained. 

The critical framework however, still protruded 
angularly through the fantastic pastiche of Abon Hassan , 
After the leads in the play are listed, the mob is spoken 
of as "lots of other people, who 'like the air, are rarely heard 
save when they speak in thunder,'"' Pour courtiers appear be- 
fore Abon in scene VIII: 

1st COURTIER: With your permission 

We offer to your notice a petition 
Prom people who want bread. 

2nd COURTIER: Prom those who make iti 

3nd COURTIER: Prom those who grow the cornl 

4th COURTIER: Prom those who bake iti 





it -^j Old.: on.Gvr etn.: 

--* ■■ • . ■ xbooIoo I,?.olv-.;;,-;i uxsl •n;c,t,- 

■ -ill lo ri.v. ciiBQRi s '^iQrtsIqMOO jfncw 

'.iiiioi.i. !ficei 

■ , J lis- .•' 



1st COURTIER; Prom those who pay the tax imposed 

upon 'em J 
ALL: Complaining all of rank Injustice 

done 'eml 
ABON: ("bewildered) What does it all mean? 
GIAPPAR: Sire, beyond a doubt 

'Tls what is called pressure from 

without . 
ABON: Flour's the right thing to make a 

G-IAFFAR; The farmers. Sire, say but a loss 

they reap. 
ABON: They hold it dearly — make them sell 

it cheap, 
GIAPPAR: Tlio bakers. Sire, want bread and 

make much of it. 
ABON: Declare it death to sell at a profit i 
GIAPPAR: The bakers. Sire, no money have to 

ABON: Tell them the staff of life we'll 

give av/ay, 
And for the nation's food the state 

shall payl 
GIAPPAR: But how to carry out your gracious 

ABON: Why, tax the people for their own 

'Tis fair that those who pay for 

food should eat. 
And, if the eaters pay, why both 

ends meet. 

GIAPPAR: The people. Sire, accept v/ith accla- 
The cheap bread--but, object to the 
ABON: Ungrateful slaves] Hang all who 

dare complain. 
GIAPPAR: There'll bo none left, then. Sire to 

tax again. 
ABON: What's to bo done? It seems my last 
cLgs 1x*o 
Has boon a case of frying pan and fire : 
In short, to the humiliating pass 
I'm brought, of owning that I've boon 
an ass] 

Tho tension of Abon Hassan's Hxmt after Happiness was re- 
lieved often by incidental music. Ono of the songs was 
■''The Other Side of Jordan." One of tho musical interludes was 
a burlesqued scene from II Trovatore . 


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:+a.'iX Y-'"'? &HX.03.& :fl. vciiol) od" oa a'-^fjirr;;? 

:0'tX'i X>rM; iT^q - -., De-->c c nriocf t.cH 

E£-:iq SiiXr- oiict erf ^r^icvrire al 

aoocf ov'I. d-AflJ ^vii_;7/o lo id:.'ixjj-r>Tf:x .■■^r' I 

-o'-i: seiv .sgogM,lfe^l ■ .'to^.'ic ;t£:.'iU e'xP3ga.oK .«tocfA. la ;7oX3i:roJ OiXT 

auw sbcctb on;^ '+0 on:5 .oirsj^rm Xr/;5!noi',X.:^rrX t*^ no;Jlo b^xroii 

Burlesque 23 

Burlesque admitted no national boundaries. The 

uprooted, nondescript nationalisms of the "burlesque and 

pantomime, Lalla Rook h," by William Brough, gathered this 

reaction from The Bulletin of Feb. 10, 1859: 

"The spectacular burlesque of Lalla Rookh was 
produced last night in a style of unusual 
splendor. So far as new scenery of the most 
brilliant description is concerned, the piece 
is a great success; the closing scene indeed, 
exceeds in beauty anything that has ever before 
been exhibited at his house (Maguiro's Opera 
House), or perhaps in any other theatre in the 
city. A multitude of supernumeraries adds much 
to the pleasing effect. The piece is founded on 
Moore's poem of the samo name. The principal 
characters are filled by Miss Adelaide Gougen- 
heim, (Lalla Rookh) , Miss Joey Gougonheim, 
(Poramorez), and Mr. Lewis Baker (Fadladeen) . 
It is somewhat lengthy for a burlesque and but 
for the magnificence of scenery, would probably 
prove tedious. The usual play on words per- 
vades the piece. A consldcrablo number of songs 
are sung by the characters, but the music is 
not remarkably beautiful." 


In the early fifties there had been enough of the 
heroic in the first vigorous search for gold to make the am- 
plified strut of Shakespearean tragedy sympathetic to the ex- 
panding, hopeful. Western mentality. San Franciscans could 
take the grand manner because they were living in the grand 
manner. The artificial declamation of the classical school — 
of the elder Booth, of James Stark — did not scom hollow as 
long as the afflatus of discovery buoyed up the heavy body of 
pioneer optimism. In the middle fifties was heard the first 
dull thud of collapse. Real estate values tumbled from a 

^fLs s;.p,s,»i;^jcf" edsN Xo. exns,'; '■.o.«'-. ?,.tji£f :J,rf.l%'j.q,ab|?pn , bscto.o^q;:' 

•trr.-S'yf , 0-X x^T.?<;u.'u. e/SiU'^oili fjolcrDBei 

fit p. :,K^i^ c ..,." ' . 

\j*.>J UV-'ji^ 

- '-} 

■ ■ • .. . ^ . 

"- loorioE fi>ole.<5./5£o o.«i.;r 'to .rjp./ j-.,ttivi:ooJi XBXotJ.t.&^ oriT ••xo.rcrtBin 
83 woIXorl Picoa ,{tq« -Wb -.- -W^fy^r .-^'W-l A<^ ,.£fe)'.oo8£|Io oricf lo 

Burlesque 24 

dazzling height. Gambling racketeers boldly attempted to out- 
wit the depression. The vigilantes went to a strait-laced ex- 
treme which threatened to put out all the lights of cult\ire. 
A new, progressive movement was not felt until the discovery 
of silver in Nevada. The theatre of San Francisco (and that 
meant the Western theatre) reflected all these broad, under- 
lying economic changes. The full-rigged metaphors of "legit*- 
imate" drama, the magnified passions of operatic embonpoint, 
collapsed with real estate. Theatre-goers were bored with the 
pretentious, and embarrassed with the heroic. The idea of Cal- 
ifornia as an isolated El Dorado was being shaken j California 
was realized as part of the national tribulation, and no haven. 

On February 3, 1853 Edwin Booth appeared in The 
American Fireman ''^ at the San Francisco Theatre (second nomen- 
clature of Tom Magulre's San Francisco Hall later to be dig** 
nified as Maguire's Opera House). But the feeble groping 
prophesies of the critics did not stimulate any overwhelming 
reaction. The Sable Harmonists, with their new brand of 
"Ethiopian burlesque" at the Adelphi Theatre, were the most 
popular entertainers in town. 

In June of this same year Lola Montez** tried again 
to maintain a serious note in entertainment. But her simula- 
tion of the antics of an arachnid in her famous "Spider Dance" 
did not even win the encomi\am of a successful tour de force; 
the newspapers parodied her movements on the stage until. 

i'f The Golden Era Feb, 6 (Saturday) 1853. McCabe's Journal 
gives Feb. 2, but is obviously in error. Booth had made his 
debut on July 30, 1852, playing a small part with his 
father, J-unius Brutus Booth Sr., in The Iron Chest . 

'jHtSee Monograph on Lola Monte z. Vol. V"^^ this series. 

^. ..... . ...... 

-^^^r ;^^ii^ •>'56.^'■■■ .v. • . ■■_■, . , ..J 

jS'KTi ?:.dJ (;it-'>'> . ■ ■ -'ii.t'P^' =*T^^ ■^• 

A... „ ^n♦•' 

Burlesque 25 

rather than a symbol of grace, Lola became the tarantula with 
wire legs which the Barbary Coast bartender could lower sud- 
denly from the ceiling down upon the bar, right before the 
startled drunk who had outstaid his joviality and was pre- 
pared to believe in the evil vision. 

Old Doc Robinson certainly had a showman's thumb 
on the public pulse when he concocted his burlesque Who's Got 
the Coimtess or The Rival Houses * Large vociferous audiences 
at the San Francisco Theatre rewarded him. Caroline Chapman, 
indefatigable and ever-popular in the early theatre, was de- 
lighted no doubt to play the lead. For ten nights, a long 
run in those days , the people of the city were refreshed by 
the spectacle of a satirical spider, well-versed in its 
model, but thoroughly irreverent* 

In August 1853, the papers made a big advance 
splash for James E. Murdoch, famous East coast tragedian. But 
the public response was hardly remunerative and Murdoch, with 
some enthusiastic reviov;s in his pocket, was forced to give 
way at the American Theatre to a French ballot troupe.,. 

Several months later, the two actor families of 
the Bakers and the Proctors who had long endeavored, with 
disastrous financial results, to revive ''the sacred flame of 
the legitimate drama," deserted San Francisco for the East 
coast* At the sumptuous New Metropolitan, Mrs. Sinclair was 
short-sightedly indulging herself v/ith an unattended revival 
of Italian grand opera. This was during the winter of 1854 
and 1855. Tom Maguire's San Francisco Minstrel Troupe i-jas 

5S ' f)dpbr9£^isj8. 

..erf:? ^.To'^.^cf-.-jJri'iji'x , ^rrjccf. 9=rfl' noqij- .nw'ofc-gu-^Ii'en'erTct rnoil'^V-tnef' 

* •aoi:£l:v..Xi:VO'" arid-- '.scf ocf ' 

i'i'^iL?Ll£i^'i ?i-'*pe&-i^'3:xKi' ?.-J:d JbDwOOoxJoo .d ■■■■.' ' ' .-^ct no 

; aef>jc&i;Mja.-2-;/oar/iJto<yv G^^^s/iJ . ra9/;j ;oH J:j: ifH.^g)!^;.-ip., ., , 
4*^jcj!a;<v;-:''0:.--^«J:.iQT:«0 ...Jnixl. £>8X>iew9t'-^-:.Q:'x;fje:sxlT' <yo8l'o"mV' 

••^ J:.'pol3-s.;T.'i:'.i-e:"Xov/ ■.•X^ odi -J.o ol^ooq-arfct ^,■■R••^Bh■oe^DrI■J ".= •' 
adri iii ooa^o-sp-Xlov/ .^isfiXgs .'Lffdtzl-j'nE 'b -To dXoBcfijsq 

■1q oi^uiXl fe5JT.o.!ns fjild-'' ovivoi txt *,"*2rfli.ffe- ■ 'f. ■eiToi:'' 

•<:XnX,cr?iB *. ■."iiloqo-iJ'-I.i v.'f-r: 'J-vrci^^tq/SifS o.- • 

Burlesque 25 

quick to grasp the opportunity; he announced a series of 
burlssque operas. Such nationally known minstrel stars as 
John Snith, Eph Horn, and Mike Mitchell were in the company. 
As a dead give-away to the temper of the times, several of 
Mrs. Sinclair's singers together with George Loder, her con- 
ductor, defected from that lady's quixotic venture and joined 
the burlesquers. For several v/eeks Italian aria and recita- 
tive took a very successful rap at the hands of the minstrels. 
The grand manner was hecorae ridiculous armor decorating a 

All this time, Edwin Booth, under the management 
of his hrother Junius, had tenaciously held out for the le- 
gitimate drama at the little Adelphi Theatre. Edwin Booth's 
gradual isolation as the real genius among a number of very 
competent actors enabled him to hold an audience for the 
"great, old plays" where all other tragedians had failed. But 
even the Booths failed in 1856. The time was definitely deca- 
dent. The California venture, as a whole, lost money. The 
boisterousness of the saloons was quickly sharpened to a num- 
ber of embittered shootings. The vigilante spirit decided 
that what the city needed v/as a thickly-applied coat of p\iri- 
tanical monotone. As a result almost no vegetation at all 


In the middle of this low-point summer of 1856, 
the San Francisco Minstrels again struck the cheerful note, 
both for the city and Tom Maguirc's pockctbook. Thoy an- 
nounced a "Grand Shakespearean Festival." Macbeth, Ki chard IHV 

lo aai-xee s bi^ofSisonciB ori ;T^^J:njj;tiocxq[o erid- qe«'is o;* >ro±j;;p 
.'Xi^ticnoc} erU stl eiev/ XIsriocflM ©iflM bna ,m:cH rfqa .iifd".'' 

/i'en.ioL •^-•''^ s'iri/d'ngv olioxiup a^xb^'X i'Sixif noil be ^.t- 

•jAiiorrr. boB S't'-sji fte.lihr*T nil&sr/ Is'-it-v^e to'2 .eiexjpe&rxfjcf ertf 

iriei'ii.oSB'i'^-'i- ori'^ iQbrji i^diooG. rr.twf)S ,onid- sixW XI A 

-oi orld- "xol. uj;.--o Mori -^IsiroioBrto:^ bBrf ^ cxxlnrjt lerWotd alrf lo 

-vj^jii..-/ Io '.fadrain e «jj-xao:fi Xcoi eriit ai< noictisXosi: X/^irbjai^^ 
ofid 'ib'J. eoLtol'ofsh n>? .blorf o.t r^dr! iseXdexto eiDoO/J d-ftocteqraos 
iiffi Ji-joliiil bM srtnibegS'xJ terCJo XXb oisrlv: "s^jeXq Mo 4.-tjBois'^ 
-aoofc •cXodXrri''ia& zavr o;nXJ orf? .rieGX nX />ells'i ^rlcfooS orii no7i- 
Of{T .YOrioiii d'eoX. ,-r;IorM ij 8j2 .oix/cin^v i?X'T.-'roliXjGO orfl' 
-nurn j.' be.' bonc-qisir'sc rj.zlolifp '^:svr "iaoolM odi Io seonsiroioctElccf 
bobloob J£ilq& oSaBXX;aiv O-cil .e;\rtJ;3'OCrIa ijeiorfilclwo lo lorf 
-X'li/q xo d-soo fcoiXqqs-Y-^'o^-'"^"'' ^ p^w i>oJboon Y^i^ 0^-i^ c^fi^rfw ind-i 
LxP. JP nc Ij/;;toj}: V :;^ t morale dXiLreGi fl eA .onocJ-ori'o.: tDi'Olrsn.f 

■» jjjJvXwiJje 
»da3X lo Tcomr;i.r. :+n.toq- V!-oI eXrli lo oX£>f)lm oiid ii" 
'.01' on Xi/yiuoflo orf-i- ^ov"itfa rticj-^c g-Ioi'XaniM ooelpa'i'i'I /tbS orf-t 
'.?i0ocfj0}/ocu ?5 ' oiii/g'?:?,! noT brus y^Xo orii lol xi*ocf 

Boirlesque 27 

Othello , Hamlet , Romeo and Juliet (along with countless, 
unnamed notables) were taken for a refreshing ride by the 
iconoclastic minstrels. Caroline Chapman might prod her 
satirical spear point at the inflated reputation of a Montez, 
but she, in turn, would have to endure, graciously, a bur- 
lesque interpretation of her performance as Juliet to Booth's 
Romeo. The deadened response of the town's theatre-goers was 
eager to be quickened; despite (and also because of) the 
panicky conditions of mining and real estate, the unsancti- 
monious minstrels played to crowded houses. 

Professor Rlsloy, with no business acumen and less 
theatrical insight, appeared on the San Francisco scene at 
about this time with an expensive, ambitious, solemn living- 
picture of V/ashington Crossing the Delaware. Maguiro's 
minstrels, with a merciless hilarity, swooped down on their 
new quarry: a series of uncontainod "tableaux vivants" cre- 
ated a furore. The minstrel troupe was again, very clearly 
and efficiently, performing the historic, artistic function 
of a sterilizing parasite. 

In the late summer of 1856 Lola Montez rotxirnod to 
San Francisco from Australia. On this return trip, Lola's 
latest amovir had been lost overboard from the brig Fanny Ma - 
jor. The circumstances of his death were rocroatod and fal- 
sified with the usual propensity of the public towards vili- 
fication. The ncv/spapcrs loft Lola no talent whatsoever: 
her dancing, it soomod, was sadly out of form, and completely 
dull. Lola, with a large gesture, auctioned all her diamonds 

r'iQfi bo[iq .-id^iliy nsarxiBiiD .f->/;i;Io:i:;G.O .. als.'xrr srrJ.'m oi.ctas£:.^.->nc:tv^ 

*je o:ioo& oozloj:tB'^S cibB ,o.ri<f n.;; [iJi^i-'Bt^tiq?-. «.u-r5;,;:tfir:J: XHOit':c.'i-iAO/Icr 
.-3ii,cyJ:J[ ijff|;qIoc ^e^ifiXvi.cT.Trj; .^ C'jr:?::i3;:A.oct?y.;r i?,:?- ::';':::xw qslLs zsa.A -isjocsi 

iioidoru/t olciaii-iJE f^otxf^zjtc liitS •;^y'',:ax?"!i '"A-'Dq ,^:IJ-rIOi^J:'itO l>ri.e 

:r!;GVOoa*nm/' irroXii-:! on plqu i'X^i ^iioqiv:^s'.n-vrs c-.-r," •/ioX::f.B;3i'i 
•liXoif^.XgraG.y. bciR ^ae^ol ^o. i^o -^i^ass bbttv- ^J^omooB ;+x ^^rrxortob 106, 

zbnoir,iJiii: loxl- lij.^ fb:.,iv.%'..+ '{i:f.;^, ^ ....-^z^* r^C-is OS?.,?! i.> jrl^Iv^ ^isloa •Hub 

Btirlesque 28 

for the benefit of her lover's orphans. But even this indi- 
cation of nobility did not deter Caroline Chapman from the 
final turn of the screw. Immediately upon Lola's departure 
for the East, Caroline, who had been employed in Lola's last 
acting company, presented her original and scathing (the 
newspapers said "unprincipled") burlesque: A Trip to Austra - 
lia, or Lola Montez on the Fanny Major . 

September 3, 1856 Edwin Booth in a farewell per- 
formance presented Kinfi Lear . The departure of the groat ac- 
tor for the more propitious East Coast was an inadvertent 
admonishment to the cultural conditions of the Wes-t. It is 
hardly credible that Tom Maguire was sensitive to this criti- 
cism; with his astute showmanship, however, he sensed that 
the public might be surfeited with burlesque; that perhaps 
this was the time for a series of legitimate dramas by a ca- 
pable stock company. The opening production of the new com- 
pany starred Mrs. Julia Dean Hayne in The Wife , the play which 
in 1850 had commenced both tho history of the theatre in Ssm 
Francisco, and the careers of Mrt and Mrs. Jamos Stark. 

The other theatres in tovm followed Maguire 's load, 
but this attempted revival of stock companies and heavy drama 
may bo said to have "dravm a deuce." In the middlo of tho 
1856-1857 season, the only show in tovm that v;as making any 
money was the burlesque Mother Goose , played by the Ethiopian 
Btirlosque Troupe at tho American Theatre. 

With a high, colored flame from its rococo poly- 
chrome, the Metropolitan burned to tho grovrnd August 15, 1857. 

§if{^ ) '."sii.-* ■. '^ ■■■'.;' ';f en'' ?'-^'"i'c ^f^H '(<'■,■•;■>;■.■'■■■.■.'■?■ • ' -T^tTx^Si" 

■it-i^ji^t-ffp^^'": • ■• ■ rf^t: ^t:-.f:r--~0 ^i^riTli -.i'^^'v: '■' • "''■''■■■ 

,;•■•:■ V ■"■■ ?.tf^ ■;:''■ ;?j'^i7vJ>^j;?<>; =.J^v.' .3'^.i:J'/r7/vfc •i.-tc.'i" 'ri^^O;! ■■' ■■ ■ "•'[■irarr 

/fr;,?rrvr rri ■ ::\fj,qi":y si ■-■rz-'-' ='-''''^- ^--l.^: .•'■■• - '• .;.-"" 

.:' ;■•'; iv'^it sr±. -^rn^f. X-^--'' ■''■''' ' ■ ' 

tf* 'v - 

Biirlesque 29 

Through these last unsettled years, the Metropolitan had been 
the stronghold of the legitimate drama. Magulre, the "Napo- 
leon of Theatrical Managers," whether through a remorseful 
twinge of aesthetic ism or another hard-headed gamble of show- 
manship, refurbished his stock company and injected another 
blood transfusion into the languishing body of the "great, 
old play." Two nev; stars in his company were to wax large In 
the history of the San Francisco theatre; they v/ero both from 
London: Miss Eimna Grattan, from the old Adolphi, and Harry 
Coiirtaine, from Drur-y Lane. 

The city of San Francisco might rise, phoenix-wise, 
out of each successive fire, more resplendent — but not the 
legitimate drama. Within a few months Maguire permitted the 
"great, old play" to be buried again. In January 1858 Ma- 
gulre 's Opera House announced Mrs. John Wood, the famous mu- 
sical comedy star. Forty-four sold-out nights proved both 
the temper of the public and the ability of Mrs. Wood. 

In such pieces as Josephine, or The Fortune of War , 
The Invisible Prince , and The Corsair , Mrs. Wood, throughout 
1858, scintillated without competition as the cynosure of 
California's theatre-goers. Three times during the year she 
returned to San Francisco from tours of the mining camps and 
from other cities; and each time she achieved a spectacular 
run. Of her it was soon said: "No more popular actress ever 
visited the Pacific Coast."* 

* Leman, Walter. Memories of an Old Actor . 

(?S; f -if pT .?..!.■" -J* J 

-v;o:i;: 'to olo/rrj^ reffiai-'-;?* * •.■■.i-vonr 10 L'^loiC''''>:l'icoii 'to ©3.^1/ vf 

i:'C.-fi ::!:!"•■.' ':■''.. ;??'?:? jftsrivt^ of';:.i - c '•='.. ' ■■^^"i^ 

^;?-f!V. i^/t? ,.l;iqXri>ii tie odu .-no^l ... . • .. ■ "■-ic.^I 

o:C:J jon i-:6 -- dnoj^sfieXq<ve"x tioxoi toni'c orX^.ao-.OL::. rioi;e ' ^ :■:.;> 

VI'; i.f' :;;;.!•■"•: ^:' ::•, .^ axldriom wa'J: 5^ ■ ' ..• ' ■:':.:•. .n..;'0X 

T-.Lv^r.^ccHje d hovoiitOE 0'.i3 omi^-i dor.-: , : •■:;::ti.: ; /; ■ 

Burlesque 30 

The Gougenheim Sisters, lesser luminaries than 
Mrs. Wood, were nevertheless popular enough to accumulate in 
the California theatres a fortune estimated at one million 
dollars. Early in 1858 they alternated with Mrs. Vifood's 
appearances at Maguire's Opera House j on November 29 they 
appeared at the Lyce^um; the following March they were back at 
Maguire's in a widely publicized, farewell performance of 
Lalla Rookh . 

The success of the Gougenlaelms and Mrs. Wood was 
the big-scale, main street victory of the new theatre. A 
less conspicuous efflorescence of this same theatre was tak- 
ing place on the side streets of the late eighteen-fifties; 
the London music hall was become the San Francisco melodeon; 
the Barbary Coast saloon lifted the haze of Havana and quiet- 
ed the unintelligible brawl by means of a minstrel biArlesque. 
The Bella Union, one of the oldest of the gambling resorts, 
from its very beginning had eased the strained nerves of the 
roulette players and muffled the cries of the croupiers with 
instrumental trios, ballad singers, and a variety of noisy 
saltimbanques. From 1855 to 1860 saloon entertainment as- 
signed the definite shape of burlesque: V\finn's Union Saloon, 
the Adclphi Saloon, the Bella Union, all employed minstrel 
troupes. Tho baroque angels of tho uptown prosceniums were 
sentinels of propriety; but tho simple stages of tho saloons 
admitted no curb to the incisive satire of tho players. Here 
tho spirit of burlesque was completely free. 

iii eit/*XjLrffitroifl 6-1: d'^sj-osih TiiiWocj 'dzelesiiifivea: ©'xaw ^bo.oV,' hS-iJ-I, 

fa ^'ijys'cf e'^ce-.'/' '^9-'*^ di>':.s^^ $i:iH''6£Lo'i OilJ* ij.vju'eot'l '5J"KJ o^^ £>&^tfloq.qB 

A c-Di5£Sxio* won oris lo -^^'idSolv dT.'f.'tiB nierr < tjXjt^o. -• ;. .': ■.■ -, 
=xp>c} 8/iw ijid-Berfd- ej^a tii'j !'.• oone.o.iC'ioX'ilo 8i/cjjo.!:q?nof5 'o^X 
\ioii'ii.J-£ioe>^clp-]:fi QifiJ o^i■^ It.- fer^oe-Tja Dti?. orio no ©osXq grri 

* oi/psc'l'ijjcf Xei-*anifii fi lo aauet"; -^^d" i7.'t-<id ^XciigXlXod'ixiHi;/ orf:J £e 

edti aO Bovton IjonJp-td^e -si:!;]- £)9^g^9 bBxi gnJinni-add ^lev 2:ti jtapil 

Xblon'Yc t^oi'Xi?v ; •,.-*/; .^a'^d'^atz bBSJLed ,^so"lii XiJ:'"nofiiyi*sru 
•cj^ vnofiLtiritioono nooiise Oi58X ocr S38X raoi'? ♦2c.rposasa.t:ti«e 
-..ncoXeS noirtU e'-' a^JtV/ . oL't'sol'Lisd lo oqRdi. o-ilrtXI'Ub cd^i .bo^z 
Xciitanljn iiovoXqxsio TX;^ .,it>>ii;U ..nXioS orict ,, .•.trIq:XDr>A o^J^ 
croA' eKii.'inooEortq nv/o^q;,r odt .lo aXoaftB owp-oixitf or!T* ^..^oqi^cxi 
?xtbc»X"'-5a orlcJ- lo Ko^jBd-p. JXqRrie •rjrf.t ;jj:;d ■?-:j:Jaitqo^';<:;. "■to zloni^Jfoz 
CTr^H '. r.'T-oi^erq orfcr lo o'lictBE L^vit-.loni orit oct d-xwo .on ijo^ctXt^bs 
•ioo-rl If^Xoo ^rqrrrtr 2 0*/ oGrpaaXtr/cT lo .Jfeii^qe offct 

Burlesque 31 

The Olympus of early nineteenth-century drama had 
been a rather dull hand-out for bewlgged, false-toothed del- 
ties, each draped in an English ulster ratha' than a peplos 
against the sodden rain of the times. Eighteen- fifty to 
eighteen- sixty vms the very special period of transition. 
Theatrical Square was loud with the claraor of contenders for 
the position of Deposod Monarch. each one sure of his link 
with history as the noxt successivo symbol in the dovolopment 
of the drama J sure that it would bo his horse whose hoof 
would be lifted and held in a bronze clangor above the in- 
scription on the pediment. Plancho,''^ famous English writer 
of burlesque extravaganza, has recorded these contentions in 
one of the most intelligent burlesques of the period. Planche 
called his work The Camp at the Olympic' '^"' renamed The Camp 
at the Union . This work was played several times at the Un- 
ion Theatre in San Francisco in 1854, The stage is trailed 
across by a comprehensive assortment of disconsolate, nervous, 
hopeful figures: Tragedy, Comedy, Burlesque, Opera, Ballot, 
Melo-Drama, Pantomime, Hippo-Drama, Ghost of the Old Italian 
Opera, Harlequin, Clown, Pantaloon, Columbine, The True Brit- 
ish Sailor, and Sylphidos. Fancy harangues the crowd and re- 
lays the real dope to the audience: 

-J.^ Planche, James Robinson. (1796-1880) An English dramatist 

and archaeologist. ^ t ^ 

*«With reference to The Royal Olympic Theatre of London. 

i^?^ ■^^rii'i'-.rrtr. ■ »2f>>r*.t,-' . --b-x :-:•:;.■..= .■; 0. .'r-ui-j-n:*-:. 

vt^-'- p.. ■ . > .;'■ rf;:fi;v , .■ -jow iJTf'v^ ■, • 

."•(-:f -• , . ■: ■■ .4Q"i«r-- 

V T' ro<',''! *! ;■"•'' -■•iiX;"- j.?>(i'C'j'- .'-"^ i"i''^ ?'<.■ ■ - ' VV'' i'.; ' '' ' '■''■■ ■'•' 

..Ravine's 3.Brf ,^^f'-/'p;ffV.^'Vf-?:.H vi-sp ■'i.-tv^ 'io 

■ ^'■■;" -.f; ^'f^T' 4t~.^t'-T;-t[?3- ^rpocr'i.-^t . . ..•'=•1'.' ..??;-C'"-rv "'< ; , ^ •• . 

.•1 . .'.-^ ■ 

Burlesque 32 


"The Camp at the Union" is the thing I 

Here all the drama's forces we'll review, 

And see what troops will flock her standard to 

At Fancy's call. The Play-Household Brigade 

Shall turn out for Inspection, on parade! 


Not in a pass ion I When I see the state 
Of Denmark rot ten I When I hear the fate 
Which hath befallen both the classic domes, 
'Neath which my votaries once found their homes I 
Where Garrick, Monarch of the mimic scene 
His spectre passed from Kemble down to Kean. 
\'\fhero Gibber's silver tones the heart would steal. 
And Siddons left her mantle to O'Neill 
The drama banished from her highest places 
By debardeurs and fools with varnished faces 
Fiddling like Nero, while her Rome is b\irning« 


Wit, oh my dear, don't mention such a thing! 

Wit on the stage, what wit av;ay would fling? 

There are so few who know it v/hon they hear it. 

Wit J If to theatres for wit they'd come 

Would Farquhar, Congreve, Wycherly be dumb? 

Or even the poor devils now-a-days , 

Who can't--scribbling — hawk their hapless plays 

From house to house, to hear the sentence chilling 

"Your piece is clever, but won't draw a shilling." 

MR. V/: (a sort of interlocutor in the play) 
Then, what will draw? 


Mercy, tell me, pray- 

What horse will win the Derby, Sir? You may, 

I'm avcre as easily as I tell you 

What the American public will come to J 

Just what they like— whatever that may be — 

Not much to hear, and something strange to see: 

A Zulu Kaffir, with his bow and quiver j 

A Pigmy Earthman from the Orange river; 

An A25tec Lilliputian, who can't say a 

Word, from the unknown city Iximaya: 

Any monstrosity may make a hit, 

But no one's fool enough to pay for wit J 

MR. W: 

Talking of humotir, whore on earth has fled 

Our broad old English Farce, or is he dead? 

,<'yi Jl>\ _■ . .', - V ■■• ■ ■ - '' '■' '■'■■' 

'i .,'Ctr, -'jIsjow ?''i,.:. ■ ' ■ • . 

'ji 'i: . norlw ct^ vionil oriw .vol cs eiB jq-,.. ;■/. 

(\o^Iq e/i.'t n! p.) .'V,' . 

. V-:- -^ cnY V«|u ,^ci^L&4 af' ' '• ,r'"' -'!;■■■' 

ip^ -v f ■ ?•■■ '^i . ; • 

— ecf Yftis ^ ■,..., ,. \ 

ulr^ f: eH'- 

Burlesque 33 


No, "but too homely for this polished age, 
He's lately taken French leave of the stage; 
But there's a substitute still more grotesque 
We often find him — He's called Burlesque. 


Avaunt and quit my sight 1 Let the earth hide theel 

Unreal mockery, hencei I can't abide thee J 


Because I fling your follies in your face 

And call back all the false starts of your race} 

Show up your shows, affect your affectation. 

And by such homeopathic aggravation 

Would cleanse your bosom of that perilous stuff, 

Which weighs upon our art — bombast and puff. 

MR. W: 

Have you so good a purpose then in hand? 


Else wherefore breathe I in dramatic land? 

MR. W: 

I thought your aim was but to make us laugh? 


Those who think so but understand me, half. 

In this biased manner, Blanche^ jockeys himself into 
the saddle of the bronze horse in the square. Time however 
has confirmed his ruse as a true ascendency. Burlesque is 
firmly seated on the horse of Marcus Aurelius, and the drama- 
tists of our own day who are worth their salt recognize their 
lineage. Too bad that Campidoglio itself, where the flanks 
of the old bronze horse are green with the sea of many years, 
cannot ring with the satirical glee of the critical spirit; 
but from that land, burlesque, along with anybody who looked 
like or remembered Garibaldi, has been banished to the is- 



tOSii*® ^4^ 'ic evAfI fionci'vi n.^-i^rt '•v,- 

i5pa,i ijjov 'io sj-TUGcfo -'■■'■. r-'- . '• ■ ■•■ ■ 

nr^xi:.' .- ■ ■ ■■ 

1'ri§jjiiX ei' ojt«n .->J :)!t;.ci bsw tails ts^ox o'ri.v.i-'orf;J I 

ocrni. 'ilQgHLtii 3-^a,\'ooi, VnonBX*!; t.'soxjrfBni fcsejsl'i'' eir'* ■"■ 

'i6vsvvc)fi e;r:2T . ai sir p<5. ©lict;. nx. afs^Torf f.sncvicf-' eda- .;u v .v. ^ •jil.J 

-©.usi/j grid' onjQ ,ei/lXoii;A. ba/oi^KMo ••je':roii orl3"rr6 .beitfias x-^'i^'f-^'^ 
'xiyr{>l. f>sj;rtsooe': ctX^.c; ilfiiict •xl.t--ifowr oij? orlw^efe- mvo" 11/0 lo ei^alJ 
ezinsXt erf:?, s'xojiw.- ^ll^sil oXIjiobf-.qfrteS-rcfiiiritf 'ibp.ef ooT .OgsenXX 

jdtlrtX.qg, Xfi.oiJ'i'io offi IooqIb Xo-vr : '•.i.<' =; ^.if 2i:?.cw j?nfi' ;tonABO 
6©:>c.oX orlw. \^i;'Od-ijnfi ii[ gnoX,'^- , f^up-iBCirfd ' .ijn*-! Jiisrflf 'tsoil iisd 
-2l .on'-t o:J n^9Cf .Bf.f£ • » jjr^Xje-rfi.ijSfi XxJ'iod.'asrie'i ■ to" ••^>fi:'X' 

Burlesque 34 

Before quitting this first decade of burlesque in 
San Francisco It is illuminating to observe th^ rough hand- 
ling Shakespeare endured at the hands of the Brothers Brough. 
They gave their burlesque the following much-amplified title: 

"The Enchanted Isle, or Raising the Wind on 
the most Approved Principles: a Drama Without 
the Smallest Claim to Legitimacy, Consistency, 
Probability, or Anything Else but Absurdity; 
in which will be found much that is imaccounta- 
bly coincident with Shakespeare's 'Tempest,*" 

The Enchanted Isle , first performed at the Adelphl in London, 
opened at Maguire's Opera House, April 5, 1858. The charac- 
ters were very thoroughly explained: Alonzo had become "one 
of the numerous instances nowadays of a Monarch all abroad 
and quite at sea"; Ferdinand was described rather cryptically 
as "Alonzo 's son, a part man, thro^vn loose upon the waves"; 
Gonzales, easily adapted to satire, became "a Minister in a 
queer State; with many hankerings after the Home Department"; 
Prospero and Ariel were not particularized; but Caliban had 
become "a smart, active lad, wanted (by Prospero) to make 
himself generally useful, but by no means inclined to do 
so — an Hereditary Bondsman, who, in his determination to 
be free, tal^es the most fearful liberties"; Miranda is fully 
reckoned with as "the original Miss Robinson Crusoe — Pros- 
pero 's pet and Ferdinand's passion"; the Covir tiers have "no 
Court to shelter in"; and the Lords are "doomed to short 
Commons." As for the "Foreign Propagandists," there is Easa 
di Baccastoppa "captain of the Naples Direct Steamer, first 

.•A.;i^- ^:ii: i^^nQstic: r;:faf(.l{n;t'.tXi,;.-. ai: .^-ti:- oo-3iortiji'''l fiBe 

-fj " i..,,. ." ■;.•..■ i . 

:.:.iRiii o:J<- 'toi'^qKc-xl, -^^d)-: X?octnr;vf, ■•:\f>i5X' ■&v-i.^"fiV0- ii:J'?'Pxtte t*'' 

Burlesque 35 

seen in the paddle box, but subsequently discovered In the 
wrong box" and Srauttlefacio "a Neapolitan Stoker, very badly 
off in the commodity of Naples soap." And finally, the Fair- 
ies of legend achieve a very practical solidity: "in conse- 
quence of the disturbed state of the times, it has been foiind 
necessary to swear them in as Special Constables." 

Prospero and Miranda are reclining upon the bright, 
green banks of the happy island. Miranda, out of her fa- 
tigue, recalls her dream in a song to the tvme of "SuchaGet- 
ting Up Stairs*" 

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls 
'Midst richly gilt and papered walls. 
With mirrors largo on all the piers, 
And groat big cut-glass chandeliers. 

Such a pleasure-ground too , 

With a fountain in the middle, 

Such a very nice place 

You never did see. 

(During the chorus, Prospero produces a pair of 
"bones" from his pocket and accompanies her ^a 
la Ethiopian Serenadors) • 

I dreamt that all the fine folk there 
Doemed nought for mc too good or rare. 
And to serve my lightest wish 
Tall men, in powdered wigs and plush. 

St\ch a very nice place. 

And such very pleasant people. 

You never did sec. 

To the tune of "Guy Pawkcs," Ariel tolls Prospero 
of the shipwreck of the king and his party. An ominous con- 
versation follows the song: 

PROSPERO: The King is safe, then? 

ARIEL: Safe as Kings can bo 

In these queer times of hot Democracy. 

.<^ ? rVor-t-botq oic^^ 
• lOooR fins 


'fr>cr50i*i bXi.o;} 

.•',:3i:>if.ic."ii'':'-''I • :^OJ:i --5.0 C ::xi: 

Burlesque 36 

PROSPERO: The Prince, you say? 

ARIEL: Though a grown man, he floated like 
the buoy. 

The outline of the story itself follows Shakespeare 

rather closely. In scene IV, Caliban suddenly develops his 

character to the tune of "Gregory Barnewell, Good and Pious": 

Sons of freedom hear my story, 
Pity and protect the slave ; 
Of my wrongs the inventory 
I'll just tip you in a stave. 

Tiddle ol, etc* 

Prom morn till night I work like winkin'. 
Yet I'm kicked and cuffed about. 
With scarce half time for grub or drinkin'. 
And they never lets me have a Sunday out. 

And if jaw to the gov 'nor I gives vent to. 

He calls up spirits In a trice. 

Who grip, squeeze, bite, sting, and torment — ohi 

Such friends at a pinch are by no means nice. 

But I'll not stand it longer, that I'll not, 

I'll strike at once, now that my mettle's hot, 

Hal here he comes I Now soon I'll make things better, 

"Hereditary Bondsman", lim, Et Cetera. 

Prom this point on, Caliban's political development 
is very rapid. He is next seen in a wild part of the island 
singing to the music of the "Marseillaise Hymn." He enters 
in a martial manner, "with the Cap of Liberty on his head, a 
red flag In one hand, a small bundle of firewood in the oth- 

I'm resolved--! '11 have a revolution — 
Proclaim my rights — demand a constitution. 

With Caliban and Easa di Baccastoppa deep in machinations for 

the seizure of the Island, the other situations of the old 

plot are resolved and "a delightful ship appears for the trip 

'}C eup.'zQ'LtuS. 

.;'i£H baB bcioO ^ II ev/sai s£ Y'^ossiO" To enui edi oi le^t'jBTJSrio 

• ;• ••. rrxvr.vt'vvr '^.0 

.OJi.r-i-ic. oibbtT 

»'nj •■fo't eraicf; •.1lP'i:Ii!•!^•o^•■ 

^oi ir.ev e"-' ?:r;. T Ttn'Vv.o:?-, r./;,v :ct wbJ;- li •fin/.'v-.. 

».torI a-'. .,■ .: r. ■ .wen ^Qono^-txi r,"-'..* '"^r IJ'I. 

ixisr.qol&vefj'i:^''lioc : p-'iraailjsO ,r£o,:jni:oc; eirf:t e.orc'^ • 

I)rii3lsl odcf .1c ■$g:Bq- ti iv/ ij ni ndaa (Jxorx-.fti ©1 . ■: T.tev el 

.'. yiTp^i.sM no Y^'^'iQCf-i-i "JO q^O sHd" rl:ti\/" . . rism aril 


--n©ii.uXov£(^'\a oyorf liJ'X-.-rJevXoeo . 
. -^id-snoo n /riipjiiaft^-e^rfrjlrr •'^ fljij3loo*i*i 

bio .Bxi^.l: ,.</;!£?• larfcto .oxict. . ^Ln/jti a JL oijjslua oxiJ 



to- Naples." Caliban steps forward and demands: 

"What's to be done for the people — meaning us?" 

The burlesque ends with the very modern (and pro- 
found) trick of directly involving the audience in the re- 
sponse : 

ARIEL: (to Caliban) You — what do you desorve? 

CALIBAN: (smiling and looking at avidience) I hardly 
know — 
V/hat do we all deserve? But put it so. 

ARIEL: (to audience) Ay, what? 

CALIBAN: (pushing forward and interrupting) 
Excuse me, pray: my lawless acts 

With stirring language I'll inflame 

the meeting. 
(to audience:) 

Be noisy — and excuse the observation — 
Get up a devil of a demonstration; 
But not with arms — no, only with a hand — 
(indicating clapping) 
That's all we want. And, please to 

Tho ' noise 'mongst you we're wishing 

to increase 
Here on the stage we wish to keep the 


During the years of 1860 to 1869, in the "respecta- 
ble" theatres in town, an endless, dreary shift was made from 
grand opera to legitimate drama and back again. Famous tra- 
gedians such as Kean and Forrest received well-studied ac- 
claim in the press but no overwhelming public response. The 
sleight-of-hand of such a man as Professor Anderson, Great 
Wizard of the North, was successful in drawing a few dollars 
from the people in the street. Japanese juggler troupes were 

.-ofiq Jbrw) fi'xefjQ?; '^;iay •arl:* .riiJiw' p.bae m'p^ 

■? D'v"^-f?'a9;b >=. ■ './Tfic'IIfiO at. ."^a'^ii 

. ob&m sew d"liTf5. -^isoil? ,88sX6na na ,nwo;t nl eoi^Jjcrricf- *' 

Burlesque 38 

emblazoned brightly on alluring posters. The unconscious 
mock-heroics of Roman chariot races were offered as the last, 
great, final thrill. In desperation, the opera companies 
were dissolved and reorganized in an effort to enhance their 
drawing power. The stock companies deserted the homely, over- 
stuffed morality of the English plays for the American "aeji- 
sation" dramas, Maguire's Opera House, the Academy of Music, 
and the Metropolitan were in a constant condition of precipi- 
tate insolvency. Art considered as ''old, serious and great" 
was definitely in a funk at the big playhouses. Thomas 
Maguire, still Napoleon of the San Francisco theatre even in 
adversity, controlled only two of the few golden threads in 
the theatrical pattern of the time: he was still manager of 
the San Francisco Minstrel troupe which usually played at the 
Academy; and the Martinetti-Ravel Pantomimists, on their fre- 
quent visits to the city from 1860 to 1870, were with few ex- 
ceptions, presented under his aegis. 

All this time, however, there was an undercurrent 
of successful theatre; the music hall melodeons were flour- 
ishing. The "men-only" limitation somewhat circumscribed 
their effect but this deficiency was taken care of by the 
opening of the Alhambra where performances were diluted from 
the direct stimulant for masculine customers to the spicy in- 
nuendo for the whole family. 

The exact content of the melodeon programs is as 
lost and irrecoverable as some handbill, perhaps for a new 

auoloeixoofiw erIT ..^latfaoq QiilTuSlB no x^^^^?A'i^ bectosBla'sne 
,:izfil.sdi en berrai'io onav; soobi ctox'tjsrio narrtoH lo eoioi^jci-jfooitt 
ziifywfp'oq ./jioqo. erl^ ^noiitaiecraeb ff'l .Ill'irfd' X.Hfti.'i'' ■ '^^bqi^. 
'liftrjit goofirinn c^ •tcrolxo ctB at />esIfiBSio0i fun.? B^vJlo^'j^.-Ib cvnew 
-T.evo t-^I{>i30xi orfc^ .Jb9J''j"f^8e£5 sslrjsqmoo >;oc3fa' odT'Adwoci j^i-Yfi^ija 

. 0X3^6'^ lo T2;rtex>r:f)iv, p<-;s ,e2i;oH Bir^qO e'eilj/^BM »esctfiif) "^cidaB.■ 
-IqJoe'r(? 1o ^o.l:;,.t.jb/;DO cffisjanoo b ni a'iow"n/?.:f JcioqbicJaM srfcf Ixclb- 

ai ctovo ■'e%:i,.c^j'i:t o^'i.o.-Tie'x'^ xijaG ©rid lo noeloqsK IXiin • V^'^ijt/BsMv 
nl sfjBOirid- /tsLIo^i '.ro 1. or;:t "i*^ '^w^ vino heiloiynhb iij:^-!?-*^^^'/,^/ 

-S1-1 %todd rio taj.3iiaj;iviodnf3^ I©vfiH-lddt')K-^di^I« 3t£5" Srcs" j-^titQj&jaoA! 
-xo vol xlc-i.v/ o'lov'- ,0V6.i oj 0031 moT:! vd'io '©^^ od e^-is.H' -vnotip 

-clgofl 3ir{ loJbiaf fiQdne^o'rq ,ano±d;qG9 

' ' i!. ■■■■■' ■ 

■£iecfX'spgfi^;o:.axo dBdwatFtoc noldsdimlX "\;Xno-'nGfr^' ^rfT ".r^aiilcl 
■ oi'J i(:<3 1;0 . 51.80 nejlrid esw YOitQioileb ' eiiid' "di^fc doslTr© •xlerlu 

•-xijt- ■^olqe ;^rid prt Bi^moJajj-o ea.tXtroei?i« 10?. cfxtBXimflds' ^fosilX) 

.-•-.'" :..'-x'i olbffw p :'.'■;• ToM- d.ftnojLrn 

v/on >i 'iol.i5q.«rf'?sq ., IIXcThmjir: eraoa bb eX'd'ii'xevoos'a-ix itfis deoX 

Burlesque 39 

show at the Bella Union, blovm into the street mud of those 
times. The melodeon shows were rarely reviewed by the news- 
papers; and their only advertisement were these ephemeral 
handbills, hastily printed and distributed. Doubtless a 
good part of these melodeon entertainments would be \inintol- 
ligible nowadays anyway. The burlesque element was immedi- 
ate and particular: some detail of city government; the lu- 
dicrous or lugubrious angle of some public incident; the sup- 
pressed gossip about some bigwig. And the whole life of the 
"respectable" theatres was reflected with flamboyant empha- 
sis. The voice and carriage of Harriet Gordon, "late of Lon- 
don" and "now at Maguire's Opera House" in a season of musi- 
cal extravaganza, were no doubt given excessive tremolo and 
embonpoint at the Bella Union or the Olympic; the acrobatic 
legerity of the Martinetti-Ravel Troupe was no doubt heavily 
clowned across the boards of some smoke-filled hall» Adah 
Isaacs Menken as Mazeppa at the Opera House in 1863 was re- 
flected in a Bella Union Mazeppa, who, it is recorded, was 
played by a different actress in each scene. 

As for Shakespoaro, the slightest indication of 
kingly panoply or balustraded romance at tho Opera House or 
the Metropolitan roloascd some riotous vulgarization to tho 
hooting delight of a music hall full of minors. An anecdoto 
concerning Charles Backus,* tho minstrel, and Charles Kean, 

* See monograph. Minstrelsy , Vol. XIII, this series, pp.171-72 

fizocsi 1l- buv .-? ■•'3icfe. •v'J a^ril n-^oM. •:tnolniJ jsIi'.aS .erfct :t« urbde 
-ev/ofi. 0xtJ •, ■>■:}■:-. •zi:9's an eiow swojrfe nooJboXaat -orfT .eeral^..- 

-XoJnixii/ 3cf Mci ■■ ; '' •: .v .!:-;Jcnis:tno • nxiOboS.o'Si aaerlcf "io cfTijsq J&op§ . 
-Ii3s>raini-. a-Bv; . olttrd oriT *7;j8WYnj5 e\-B5j8worr oXcfigil-. ■ 

-. .r ^.'■''■J jd:/xoianiovo?j -. - flniof) oinoa - .t-xjsXx/oJ.^i'iflq ftne o;J« 

j.-t 7;<> o'i.^I oxo::'.?- rf! k^rixTiVfjld Ofnof-. ^Joocta qXeaog fioeeoiq . 

- i-y ■:■' .Trt.sT'ijocfrj^'l- .."fWxw ..'!'od-ai9X3:9T: ebw .eeT+iiexta- ■■..*'oXo'i5;tosqe"eT" 

- . . .. 6.:JsXf ^iicoaaO c^aXiifiH Io' o^ftiii.'.o iarrs i®-;;io'v; exH' »2i3. - 

JfcitE oXorr-fd- -.\'.tst?j».oxo ffsviS' :ttf;/ol7. on aaewA tBsn^BVBictxe Tfio 
oXctBcfo"; ■rrlcjTr/IO erl^ io iioXnU fiXXc-Q or£i ;*jb Jnioqciocfms • 

YXIvbs;- oii-fi-a'AV oqiro*iV.'XevBSv-X.i'^'©xiL:;nBM'9fl;t \o y^I'iosoX 

rfBf)A • .XIj3id LaXXi-l-^jMonf. oscO'".. 'io eMBOCf "larf^ i'.30'Xori'\fb:&nvroXo ' 
-01 e^iir SDOX rtl aewoH xsiaqO ■ oHi i.T. flrra. -^v;:- v-ri .a©>LTDM"'aojfefirI 
e...w (-'jol'-r.o'.:'! s'r cfX ,orI\y, ^Bqq^^iJK.- % ..':©S J3 .rci .beJ-o:-- .. 

'ic . :. :: : i-sioaO .^rl;; ±j3 c«o/-iBmo'T-f)0'X)B^:fBJU-Xj;o'"xo -"rXqonBq^YXSf'-" 
ouo _ JBsXinaX'irv " . ?••' ExjeBoXon m:;tXXoqb>icf8M 0j±t 

Bxirlesque 40 

the tragedian, siarvives. Baokus vras playing at the Eureka. 
Among other ntunbers on his program, he conceived a satire of 
Kean's Hamlet. The piece was very successful and gained the 
attention of the whole tovm.» Kean, with thorough-going dig- 
nity, invited Backus to his hotel, where he thanked Backus 
for his attention, hut expressed his desire that if he were 
satirized he would appreciate a thorough job. He promptly 
rehearsed for Backus the intricate acting problems of the 
role. There is no means of determining w^hether or not Backus 
continued with further burlesque of this same subject. 

Throughout the decade 1850 to 1870, in between poor- 
ly received seasons of opera and legitimate drama, even the 
most sanctified halls tiirned to burlesque for economic sta- 
bility. These so-called burlesques at the big theatres actu- 
ally tended away from burlesque toward the uncontroversial 
extravaganza. The Bulletin published the following notice 
February 6, 1860: 

"On Wednesday night, the new musical and spec- 
tacular extravaganza of Pluto and Proserpine 
will be produced on a scale of unusual magnif- 
icence. One scene alone in this piece cost, 
it is said, !i?2500, and v/as taken from London 
to Australia, and brought thence by Mr. Si- 
monds on a recent occasion. This spectacle 
will exceed in beauty and grandeur everything 
heretofore brought out in this city. Mr. and 
Mrs. Slrnms, and other principles, and a host 
of superniimeraries will appear in this piece. 
The music introduced will be from II Trova - 
tore and other recent operas." 



-Hi a Di-Tion-ccc-} lo'i ex/pee X'-siira' o;? :' 

d ;-iA 

^-a^liiJ-srifte ttsoia 

■ nx orioXi- 

-x2 .tM vcs 

Biirlesque 41 

The evening of the production at Maguire's Opera 

House, the Bulletin ran another notice on February 8, 1860: 

"Here is 'ample room and verge enough' for the 
playwright, the poet and the wag to construct 
an extravaganza that should surprise and please 
by its splendor, its contrasts of scenery, its 
poetic turns and its tomfoolery. The burlesque 
to be performed tonight on the subject (Pluto 
and Proserpine ) , is expected to be one of the 
finest ever brought here, the management having 
been exceedingly liberal in the expenditure 
necessary to produce the piece effectively." 

The comedy element in burlesque extravaganza was 
usually heightened by the casting of men in some of the femi- 
nine roles and vice versa. This custom was maintained in 
Maguire's production of Pluto and Proserpine , with Harriot 
Gordon as Pluto, and Harry Courtaine as Cores. Walter Leman 
was cast as Charon. Of Mr. and Mrs. Simms, mentioned in tho 
February 6 notice, there is no further mention. 

The Bulletin completed its coverage of this produc- 
tion with a critical article February 9, 1860: 

"The extravaganza of Pluto and Proserpine 
passed off pretty fairly for a first represen- 
tation. There were a few hitches in the working 
of the scenic machinery, and in some of the 
leading personages not being fully acquainted 
with their parts , but subsequent representa- 
tions will rectify all these things. The piece 
as a burlesque is somewhat long and tiresome. 
Much of the hvimor consists in an endless string 
of puns, that pop off with a feeble noise like 
a pack of Chinese crackers — some of them being 
only understandable in London, (where the piece 
was originally produced,) and the others being 
so dull and far-fetched as to provoke a feeling 
of v/eariness and contempt. The feature of the 
extravaganza is Mr. Courtaine 's droll imperson- 
ation of Mother Cores — although he was by no 
means perfect in the part. The chorus singing 

,::* ■^: 



rd r;?:r.,>..;H 


.^•t .k „ . .. . 

■jt^i-O EJ.A.-. 

,.'*iil ..V ■ f 

.-xsH br^v , 


Burlesque 42 

was excellent. Miss Gordon does not Improve In 
rendering operatic airs. She is pleasing in a 
ballad. • • 4 The closing scene of the extravaganza 
is nearly as beautiful as gilding and gaudy 
colors, pretty girls, rich dresses and red fire 
can make it." 

A low point in the "feeble noise" of this piece by 

Francis Talfourd was given to Harry Courtaine to declaim in 

the role of Ceres : 

The Earth, by the hard times of Winter, made 
Insolvent, nov\f resumes her thriving trade; 
Before your eyes her treasures are unrolled, 
The fields she prodigally tips with gold; 
And, lavishing her wealth v/lth hand unsparing. 
The first trees have a heaving claim on bearing; 
Damsons are worth a plum, and its surprising 
To see how rapidly the stocks are rising; 
For any interest in winter lent 
The flov/ers will nov; return you scent per scent. 

The creaking enormity of revived myth gives way a 

couple of times to a more direct reflection of the author's 

London environment: Pluto, ushered into the reception room 

of Minerva's seminary where he asks for Proserpine, declares 

after the vanishing attendant: 

I feel as many here have felt before 

V/ho've left their first farce at the theatre door, 

^Vhen all anxiety to learn its fate. 

They tremblingly hand in their card and wait; 

Meantime the pot-boy, with unconscious lear 

Passes unquestioned with the Gas-man's beer; 

How the yotuig aspirant for dramatic fame 

Longs for the time, when he may do the same; 

And as he hears the slamming door of baize. 

Veiling stage glories from his stranger's gaze. 

The author's pride is for the nonce forgot. 

In envy of that happier pot-boy's lot J 

Why, Where's that dog? Here, Cerberus, I sayi 

And take your nose out of the butcher's tray. 

on o.I^ 

0*, 0.8:'; 

Bvirlesque 43 

At the grey nadir of his frustation, Pluto deliv- 
ers himself of his melancholy with some lines that create a 
sharp picture of the contemporary London milieu, once they 
get beyond the Shakespearean echo of their commencement: 

Let's have a disquisition upon graves 

Or sit upon the ground, and, in the damp, 

Discuss the probabilities of cramp; 

Or buy the Times , and read through the debates; 

Listen with interest to Christmas waits; 

Pot-house harmonic meetings go among, 

'Till we have, by perseverance, wrung 

Delight from senseless comic songs ill sung; 

Let's go to parties where you get a cup o' 

Cold tea, a little music, and no supper I 

\%iere all are strangers, without even so great a 

Relief as the acquaintance of the waiter. 

The following malediction pronounced by Ceres upon 
the chorus of the show for the disappearance of Proserpine, 
and the stage direction which succeeds it, recreate not only 
one of the ballet movements of the production but also some- 
thing of the costumes and their coloring: 

Upon the land a withering blight shall fall; 
(All bow their heads) 

And used-up rakes ne'er seek their beds at all; 

Axes fall powerless to lop a twig. 

And spades enjoy their ''otlum sine dig," 

Your ploughs you may as of no further use bury; 

I'll with the champagne country play old gooseberry; 

'Twill be such still champagne you won't know it; 
In vain you may apply yourselves to mow it. 
Now having made these cursory observations. 
To realize your pleasant expectations- 
Poppies i ye Red Republicans, with whom 
I've long waged war, your hour of triumph's come J 
Roar your proud heads o'er the surrendered plain, 
V/ith poisonous kisses choke the golden grain. 
And whisper in the dying ears of corn 

'Till Ceres finds the daughter from her tornl 
The land shall of her sorrows be partaker. 
And every rod on the earth's back an acher. 


i' I'tr 

aoqw po'j.f.f' 'vj /•-'O.vfX'CAo-xc'id^wXiefli grt.fv,-t*iio^ cS^-fT 

HbasiA- -SleM^^J' woo'- IX A) 

' . ^:;:.. "i:)?. £-i^' {^ir 

Burlesque 44 

(She waves her hand. Popples start up every- 
where through the corn and choke it, bending 
over it as in triumph. The load of corn be- 
comes a load of poppies, and the whole scene 
is red with a field of them. Thunder and 
lightning . ) 

After this passage it is not difficult to see a 
line of red-costumed ladies pop up from behind a line of 
yellow-costumed ladies, the red dominating the yellow with an 
aggressive, forward movement. The costumes of both lines no 
doubt bore overtones of vegetation: red-petaled hats for 
the poppies, and gold feathers for the corn. Foliate scal- 
lops of bright green probably carried the motif into the 
dancing skirts. At any rate, the eye of the beholder was 
being constantly knocked out by the splendor of extravaganza 
and, thus floored with color, it is at least conjectural how 
receptive the nervous system could be to the stubborn persist- 
ence of such puns as the one upon "aero" and "achor." A dis- 
eased malice or delight infests these old English burlesques 
with a word-spinning which was svirely rarely Intelligible be- 
yond the eye of a careful reader* A last too typical exam- 
ple from this Pluto and Proserpine burlesque by Talfourd: 

Diana declares : 

A husband? no, give me my own field sports; 

The whole he-race I'll er-ase from my thoughts. 

•The spring season of 1860 passed off with a halting 
series of bigger and better spectacle burlesques. A heav- 
ily-punned Romeo and Juliet , enlivened by Walter Leman's act- 
ing as the Apothecary, was repeated several times atMaguiro's 

r f- '<■,+ 

?.5^<T Oii:^ 

0-Cf' -!^'':'U-'l 


■:■.>:' iw^'w- 



"t^v'i -.-» '•■■ 


Burlesque 45 

Opera House. Late February brought the most ambitious pro- 
duction of the year -- Faust and Marguerite . According to the 
Bulletin » "The present dramatic version was originally produced 
at the Princess Theatre, London, by Charles Kean, where it 
had a great run." Before the opening, it was rumored about 
town that the carpenters at Maguire's were being overworked. 
The ex machina apparatus for the deus was clearly going 
to be more refulgent and startling than ever before. It was 
announced by the Bulletin that ''the principal characters will 
be performed by Miss Gordon (Marguerite), Mr* Leman (Faust), 
and Mr. Thompson (Mephistopholes) ." 

"Tonight, a new piece horo, entitled Faust and 
Marguerite, v;ill be produced. The story Ts 
founded on the old popular legend of The Devil 
and Dr» Faustus , v/hich has boon treated in var- 
ious forms, in different co\mtries, by many 
writers, from Marlowo to Goethe."* 

The minor is down from the hills. Ho is not at all 
sure that ho will return; there is rumor of higher wages 
in the booming silver camps of Nevada. Ho has just extricated 
himself from a nearly violent argument at the music hall con- 
cerning Separatism or Union. His head buzzing with the last 
pugilistic phrases and the last belligerent drink, he turns 
from the street into the Opera House and trios to settle 

"Mophistophelcs occasionally utters some sting- 
ing remarks on the frailties and follies of 
mankind, but otherwise there is nothing partic- 
ularly striking in the language of the drama. "-s^*- 

* gullotin . February 27, 1860. 
*»Ibid. February 28, 1860. 

?st ;-ns-;v/ ^ncijr'i aj-sPi-rii;' • ^■:f jtf.-fincd »0(T.:^noriT ?a.9.on.ti-1" ©if.r 4^^? 
"ftOL-^ IZ&ii cJ'.si^^ ^" i-,{s ;i.:T-.>f?y.'-;a^j3 '■t^ui'^i^^ xl-i:^(:>n .-3 xfco'xl. ''iXos/r-J./f 

Biirlesque 46 

The life in the music hall and on the street out- 
side from which the miner has Just plunged Into the dark au- 
di tori\m is still much brighter and more dramatic to him than 
the lighted stage where a silly and, as far as he Is conoenvdd^ 
Irrelevant continuity is attempting to enmesh him. His 
fingers itch for a more immediate and realistic grappling 
when Mephistopheles seizes the stout and rejuvenated Faust of 
Mr» Leman and carries him bodily into the lower regions. 
Then things begin to happen: 

"The walls of the building represented on the 
stage slnlc throxigh the floor, and the form of 
Marguerite, supported by two angels, is seen 
to rise slowly heavenward. The flowing white 
robes of those fomalo figures, resting upon the 
delicate blue of the sky, which is all around, 
produces a very beautiful effect. "'"'• 

With a vague hush of respect that has something to 
do with the religion of his boyhood, and with an active me- 
chanical Interest in the elevation of the angels, the minor 
decides that perhaps this is a good show* Ho shvifflos out 
with the crowd and returns to the music hall whore the con- 
text of the entertainment is intensely present-day, and the 
reactions called forth are neither vague nor disturbing* 

The music halls and melodeons of the period were 
always packed, which is something not to be said for Tom Ma- 
gulre's Opera House. And no outlay for advertising -- a mere 

* Bulletin. February 28, 1860. 

-i.rj3 jtxab edt oinX Jbesiu/Xq i-^.u^ e&d •s^ftJtm ©rtt doietn «ito«i'i ©Ms 
/iBili m±xl Oct oi:„^iM»r/>Th OTCorr: m:, ':s^.-f i;,i'id rlr-i/m £.;j.?c ?-..' .rrjjs.'--:: 

alH •xttiri jrfeofltn© oct ^nictqraa.. •::t±wnl :?jitoo r^as^v^-leiti. 

jnXLqq&i::} ol:iE}lr,Bi tOB e&Blb9^mz ©lora b to" 

iT.ooci ex ovva 

' ' :: j; ri:. . ^ ■ 

-est ©via OB rtp if^Jiv/ br-:e ^boort^od &ld "lo -x od:i dilv ot 

lottta. odo ^ ale^xos off? lo noi:tjBv©Xo orlct ni i iBoixtxjdo 

-r:oc Qdi ciorlw XXfixl oisirci Oi-ia ■ 

on'j baB ,-\j«f>-d'n9aoiq 'cXoertcctjil ei cfnrnnJtjBCfiocfno crii lo 'Jxo^ 
*^;:ild' ton ojj^^v =xcif:fioii ota ricf'iol halXno enci.ioiJQ'j 

T^\- • ■:-■■ '■ ■■■^■- ;__^-_:_ 
:■:.-- oolToq erf:* 'v. ..^. -....-;.-. .ijs eXiBi:! -^-. ■,;;. 0/ 

-nM ;-oT tol: 6X.Re ed" o<- ■• ■ - - ■• ' • .-■- v/^wXb 

•?t-=>.-. .^ -• • gnXsXcl-ievJbB 'io .. ,>.._ •-•; trie's 

Biirlesque 47 

handbill. Handbills are easily destroyed; few have come down 
to us. But the records are full enough to indicate the super- 
ficial routine of a melodeon performance. A sleight-of-hand 
artist perhaps; a daring designer of tableaiix; a blackface 
comedian: and often as not, a stinging, full-blooded bur- 
lesque of the current legitimate plays in one of the big 
theatres. Wliatever the program at the music hall, the fluirry 
of excitement was immediately and directly exploited in the 
hurried handbills which marked the walls and windows of the 
town with color for a few days before the performance. The 
excitement died as rapidly as the advertising had appeared, 
but a definite threat to the big theatres was being estab- 

Gradually the programs of the variety halls or me- 
lodeons ass-umed a traditional pattern. There v/ere three main 
parts to such a show. The first part took over the confirmed 
minstrel form, with Bones and Tambo officiating. An olio 
follov/ed, during which most anything might happen before the 
painted drop close to the prosceni-um, v;hlle the backstage 
vras being prepared for the conclusion of the show. The final 
section of the entertainment by this time had been built up 
to with careful gradation. The audience was prepared for the 
abandon of the afterpiece: sometimes the rov;diest kind of 
burlesque, somotimos an original. If an original, it was 
evidently in the sense of the photographic. Clay Greene com- 
plains that "all too often (the afterpiece) was based on an 


o '■ r 3,;, ,..; , .,..:■,■,■-■>. r!., ' >.■; 

^Cl- ..:■. y^r^-, ...;^ 

.larfT %rtTp- 

:asi BIS 

r. ,, • ,. 1 , 

!• r, . ■ ». ' !* 

Burlesque 48 

immoral story and its lines bristled with poorly concealed 
smut . " 

During the intermission, between minstrel show and 
olio, the subtle revelation of nineteenth century pulchritude 
in glove-fitting tights descended as a bevy upon the gentle- 
men of the second tier, ostensibly with the purpose of stimu- 
lating business at the bar; ostensibly, and (always remember- 
ing the margin of hioman frailty) sincerely, inasmuch as the 
admission charged enabled the managers to hire professional 
actors and entertainers. Prostitutes were not allowed to 
enter the melodeons . 

The miner in town from the hills (February 13, 
1860) has passed up the tragedy of Othello at the Lyceum the- 
atre on the corner of V/ashington and Montgomery Streets. 
There are brighter lights on down the street. He turns in at 
the Bella Union Melodeon on Kearny Street. He walks the 
length of the long, crowded barroom, and enters the little 
theatre. A four bit admission gives him entrance to one of 
the diminutive boxes, suggestively c-urtainod off around the 
sweep of the second tier. He is late : the first part of the 
show is over; the ridiculous, scenic backdrop is rippling its 
canvas stream in readiness for the olio entr'actes; the or- 
chestra, in Mexican costume, is rousing the pattern of a 
weary nostalgia. 

The miner sits dovirn beside the tabic; gets his foot 
comfortably perched on tho railing, and is about to survey the 

■bt^l r^^-rx^o-r^ ylsoor riil-,v :iBS.^?:'i^<S r.enlT. ad-JL bnB r/t-cHe -IsiomrTi; 

» J--:: r^ 

'.he.-:.?, worfa I-eicfenlci r:oo\7:f9cf ,ifsoleBi:crt&^ni arid gnx-xr/G 

-oX:fn©8 OitJ noqw x^bC s ajB ii&f^ffsoeab suds^cf 3rtJl:;J;Ji">«'W^oi^ nl 

L-I:? 3JB rlo^'nsAn.t ^-'iXeijonls d^'d'Hsil !ts..i,vn . . ,i&v. orfa 
". r •'aeolo'rq oiirf orf" eir57;e.rtEia isrfc}- SoIdTsi-JQ bogijerio noiee^.l.. 
. rr..- .■^.-^- .-•-.X7 ;r •":';: :?vv. 7 *a*ic«J:Bit'iOitf:o fsctfi eaorfOB 

. enooJooIori' --^^^ '"^r^^vo 

-3xlc mi/€»OY*l ®^ >'^^^ joIIericiO 'io \;£>03Bi:f ©ri:? qw bosefeq aati (0981 
.?.-?©©?d'£ vTauc2:fnoM i)/Le .'-•■.. • u'.' lo 'xdnioo ex{:t /to Qids 

or!::' a>iXjL>w ©H *i'^^'viZ xfi'ieoTi. no no©f)oJi©M noinU dIXeS BjcW 
©Xrf';?!! orCd- eiod'no rns > - .••■ :;.=rf iieiwoio cS^cI odi Jb rfiJ^ftfeX 

';:' '■.::■ *j:lo Aonlstf-xwo •''"•• •'--33s^''c ^eoxod ovi:'-'' ''"' ' ■^' 

or:. , . mq ^aoil orii : <5j., . _^ ^U ^let^i Moose t^^- - -.^^^^-^i. 
■^Z' i ■;}ntL<yql'x al coiMo/'f' • ■'^e ^zi:oLi:otblt edi 510 vo zX viode 
-•ic od-^ -y-- ir-i > Tf , -j-Q-j eecrnJ:f>BOi /ti rtifi6i:Je efivofio 

•^^ ''■'' •" •: - ..-;i e*- ■'■■'"i^oo OBolxoll tii tBideorfo 

^alaXBd-aon- y^bow 

;,r.-.+ ,r .•.. --rrr.. ,,-!: :fx;ocffi al Jkifl^g/iiXidi ofW no JborCbioq y-£'^J^*^o'>.~.x>^ 

Btirlesque 49 

crowd when one of the girls of the chorus steps with a rustle 

of curtain into the box. Smiles are easy, but she holds out 

for a bottle of the best imported champagne. With a gradual 

deflation of her ego down through all the levels of the v/lne 

list, and with a gradual evaporation of smile, she finally 

settles for a straight whiskey. The olio variety acts are 

over. The drop curtain rises on the first loud lines of a 

thorouglagoing farce. The conversation intensifies with the 

tempo of the farce; there is a gradual ascent back thjcough 

the wine list. The farce is very v/ell received. 

A liandbill for such an evening at the Bella Union 

Melodcon is still oxtant:-:?- 

Bella Union Melodoon 
A Constantly Varied Entertainment 
Replete V7ith Pun and Frolic 
Abounding in Song and Dance 
Unique for Grace and Beauty 
Wonderful Scccntricity 
And Perfect in Its Object of Affording 
Laughter For Millions 
In liVhich 
Harry Courtaine 
Sally Thayer, Maggie Brewer, Sam Wells, 
J. H. O'Neill, V/illiam Leo, J. Allen, 
Marian Log, ITollic Cole, A. C. Durand, 
J. H« McCabo, C Stadcrman, Amanda Lee, 
Ellle Martoll, H. D, Thompson, Joe Mabbot, 
T. M. Wells, G. Woodhull, and a host of 
the best 
Dramatic, Torpsiohoroan and Musical 
Talent Will Appear 
E-mphatically the 
Melodoon of the People 
Unapproachable and Beyond Competition 

* Reproduced from an al»tlcle by Pauline Jacobson in the San 
Francisco Bulletin . August 4, 1917. 

8 o^ T. y r' f i'^ -'t"*!' ', 

I.r,;" ^ 

Burlesque ^^ 

The noble attempt of H. A. Perry in March 1860, to 
hold out with a Shakespeare repertory at the Lyce\am, gave way 
to the burlesque of Metamora, or The Last of the PollywDgs . 
The performance of Edwin Forrest as Metamora in the original 
play was the springboard for Perry's satire. He received 
very little attention, however, and spent the rest of his en- 
gagement in unprofitable productions of the old, supposedly 
sure-fire plays such as Richelieu and The Belle's Stratagem ^ 
with occasional attempts at such new sensation plays as 
The Hidden Hand and Six Degrees of Crime * 

Prompted by the apparent inability of the other big 
houses to gain an audience, the American Theatre was reopened 
in April "under the general management of Messrs. Booth and 
Ryer and the stage management of Mr. Baker.... The prices 
are reduced to half the usual rates at a first-class theatre 
here, viz: 50 and 25 cents." ( Daily Evening Bulletin , 
April 12, 1860.) 

A description of the production v^ith which the 
American was reopened appeared in the Daily Evening Bulletin , 
April 13: 

"A numerous audience was present last night at 
the re-opening of this house. (The American 
Theatre.) The local drama of The Tliree Fast 
Men of San Francisco ( so called probably be- 
cause the words Stockton Street and Sacramento 
are occasionally spoken by the characters) is a 
long, dreary farce in five acts. There is no 
plot of the slightest interest, and the piece 
only shows the b\iffooneries of a fev; personages 


cTiK'Ki ::-rv iv/':. •::• rs^i^:. skhet -- tv?: 

.,..^;v ..,.,:-... ^.ciia'>=s!35ra .aria- iiS Yi'^-.eiti'iqQ'x QftBocin-^-AACil-' :fe rlcM'^'f jficd 'hlied 
. ^ :i„ffi<t. ./"■??- X^J?A- ,^-^X '-^ ■v'. :^;'' ^'^. ^;. ^ ' ? , ^ .^^' -'^ ^ifpeaXiijQ' siiff o:i 

"■no aid lo ;Jas'j. eci? rk^.oq(i. £>ajP: ,aav9V/o/{ ,ri<5l::trcf>;:t;i'ij &.iIc}-;?lX •^'iav 
s-o £vP:ia no •.■■■'>:: .'fo;.;- rijs c-+«^r«.'fjir^;3 XBno*ei!00o dilw 

'isol'xq 9riT. . . .ifi^r^S .'rM lo cfnortsjiisniiri o3fii« acid ixta 'soyH 

(.09eX «SJX Xl-iqA 
rioixJ.v ri^l-.y noid- as/boiq ©rfd lo noIctqitosoXv A 

;tr^ :^:" •'■: ■feijX att&ea'iq sfsvr .-.:•;:.•,'.:";/»■ ?(/otofli;f^ A"' 

'T- ■ - •:-.;■: ^p) ■.■. . , ^ , 

c . : -.:' : -. . i.ili sito^V:. , , ' .. ;. j 

':•• .:■: ,.f.!:.':j'S:iC:ni' .■ ■ ?, ^Tin'??- to ■ 

Burlesque 51 

who successj.vely visit a gaming house, a thieves' 
den. a fortune-teller parlor, a masked ball, 
etc. The grand feature in the farce is the im- 
itation, by a number of females, of the Negro- 
minstrelsy, Ethiopian jokes, stale conundrums 
and Alabam' dancing of Billy Birch and Joe 
M\irphy's troupe. There is a great deal of 
coarse animal life exhibited. The fists are 
freely used, and hats are knocked over the vic- 
tim's heads; a cry of police is heard and every- 
body runs, etc. These things produce a laugh, 
but immediately afterward one is sorry that he 
has been tempted to indulge in mirth at such 
absuri ties. The piece will be repeated tonight." 

Despite censorious handling by the newspapers, the 

production of The Three Fast Men of San Francisco held the 

boards for a ten-night run. The Daily Evening Bulletin in a 

second attack, inadvertently discloses some of the reasons 

for the success of the production: 

"V/e have been particularly requested by those 
interested to pitch into the farce of The 
Three Fast Men of San Francisc o. (They 
say) anything that shows how vulgar, gross and 
indecent a play it is v/ill be sure to persuade 
a San Francisco audience, particularly the la- 
dies, to visit the theatre. We are reminded 
that the present Fiyer-Baker-Booth Company have 
produced of late some of the finest dramas in the 
English language, but they v;ere played only to 
a 'beggarly account of empty boxes.' Finding 
San Francisco weary of the refined and intel- 
lectual, the management prod^iced the present 
piece and at once crowded the house nightly and 
put money in their purse. Latterly, however, 
the 'rush' has commenced to slacken, and it is 
thought that a good sharp censure of the piece 
will bury it hard. Well, we can only repeat 
that the piece is worthless as a dr8jna,that the 
management v;ho produced it, and the actors, and 
especially the actresses, who perform in it 
should be ashamed of themselves and their call- 
ing; that the men who persuade women to see it 
cannot be their well-wishers; and that who-ever 
see it, voluntarily a second time, or who sit 

'Bev'dlri.i B .fipu&d r^fttraBT^ fl-iiei"';..- y- 



^rid'; 6Xe^ }i:^^:j.-::l^l.i^^ 

: IqEaQ 

.-> rf^. r; 


. '. oyij.. . 

Burlesque 52 

it out a first time (unless under duress) has a 
taste for very lo\v pleasures.. ..The piece is 
announced to be repeated tonight. "'^^ 

This agitation of the Daily Evening Bulletin against 

the burlesque crudities of the Three Fast Men indicates the 

adjustment the "arbiters of taste" would have to make to the 

inevitable arrival of the "log-show" toward the end of the 

1860 decade. 

The dull round of experiment from opera to legiti- 
mate drama to "sensation play" to extravaganza v/as three 
times broken successfully by the Marsh Juvenile Comedians. 
Their first two appearances were in the spring and summer 
of 1860; their third appearance, in the fall of 1863. 

The performances of this juvenile troupe were a sac- 
charine variation of the nev; theatrical modes; the repertoire 
was made up of farces, -fairy extravaganzas, sensation plays, 
and burlesques. Daring exposure of limb for an adult became 
sweet exposition; riotous farce became cute fancy; sex appeal 
of Greek myth became tinseled daintiness; crime page sensa- 
tion plots became intellectual exercises. The dramatic crit- 
ic of the Bulletin (April 5, 1860) was not completely taken 

"The Juvenile Comedians were welcomed last 
night by a very numerous audience. To serious- 
ly criticize these youngsters is out of the 

^-^ Bulletin, April 13, 1860. 


ir- •'.«.;.-.:•.•.■.. ■ ;..-,■ './tiriw!^ h§i €ii bei£>t.^.}j.giinii 
« . -. . ..■-..• f. i ■ ■ 

• ^ ' i * . ..■- ■-■■ . ... \ ■■■■■•■•■■■' : 

•reanea a^ec 5 •:-:..c •!.'.. ',4.v.:>,jvi; Vf.iir^-', .'3oX-e>ai?ixt- ai-jfjof^:'' ricfyra :jI&91v ^.g 

. ■>t;^rrT^?=''i^'i'^'V'"Tnic O.Li <::;:: 

Burlesque 5^ 

question* The stronger emotions and passions 
that animate men and women in the drama of the 
stage, as in real life, cannot bo supposed to 
fill their minds; and they must often necessar- 
ily repeat their parts as the parrot speaks. 
One views their acting v;ith something of the 
same fooling he has when gazing on dancing dogs, 
Icarnod pigs, or performing monkeys % It is not 
altogether so, indeed, for children do experi- 
ence.. . ." 

Twenty-six girls and four hoys, with ages from six 

to sixteen years, made up the company. George PMd Mary 

Marsh (born Guerineau) were the stars. Louise Marsh (really 

Miss McLauglilin) was the second leading lady light. George 

Marsh proved to be a comedian of almost mature ability: 

"His powers of imitation were marvelous, and 
his Toodles, a miniature copy of Burton's Too- 
dles, in v/hich all of the business and many of 
the gags, even to the profanity at the mention 
of Thompson, were retained, was almost as funny 
in its uproariousness as was Burton's Toodles 
stuff, and certainly better than many of -the 
imitations that have been seen since Burton's 

The same source says of Mary, that she was "an un- 
commonly attractive child, bright eyed, graceful, fresh, and 
fair"; and goes on to add this sad detail of her death: 

"\Vhile playing in one of the Southern cities, 

her dress took fire from the footlights and she 

was fatally burned, living but ^an hour or tv;o 
after the accident occurred." "''■""' 

The Bulletin for April 6, 1860 admits lukewarmly 

the success of the Marsh juveniles in San Fraiicisco: 

* Hutton, Laiirence Curiosities of the American Stage . 

■ ""' . " .• orO 

-I-toq^co oi. ' ... . ■ ■;; 

'"■.. . ■■ - : AHO 
» « • . ., 

xlz xtco'il £..r^B x:fwiw « ;r.;V',vf -xi/ol Jbruo aXixg xIe-"cin3\vT 

'".•i.SLO,?i n.06.0 6'' ,1 

Ow^ 'iO 'XJJOxx jTi^ 

: ooei.'^ae'r'? rue?, ai ■■.''' '■'•"'!':;'' ^:r:'t lo i;(;e)oo;/2 o/f4 

Burlesque 54 

"There was another crowded house last night 
v/hen the company of juvenile comedians repeated 
Black-eyed Susan and Toodles. The tender years, 
the sex, the pretty faces and soft voices, the 
handsome costumes, the draraatic ability and ex- 
cellent drilling and the general spriijiitliness 
of this youthful troupe make a very charming 
whole. Some of them sing very sweetly, though 
without much expression, and others dance light- 
ly and gracefully." 

The Martinetti-Havel pantomimists (they are dis- 
cussed in detail in a later section) bridged December of 1860 
and January of 1861 with a forty-five night run. This high 
level of public response v;as not achieved by any other at- 
traction. The theatrical season was as jittery and shifting 
as the political factions of the whole nation. In 1860, Cal- 
ifornia, against all prognostications, had elected itself in- 
to support of the Union and Lincoln. On April 24, 1861, with 
news on the Pony Express that Fort Sumter had fallen and 
civil war v/as dofinitoly and terribly begun, there v/as a 
city-wide flare-up of political anirao cities. Offices of Gon- 
fodorato ncv/spapcrs and businessmen were wrockod and ransacked. 
General patriotic fervor rioted in the streets. The com- 
pletion of the transcontinental telegraph was peculiarly stim- 
ulating at this time; that the first use of this revolu- 
tionary means of communication should be for the contro- 
versial dispatches of an internecine war, kept the people on 
their toos for the least flicker of a telegraphic signal. 

The fact that the latest military dispatches were 
read from, the stages of most of the San Francisco theatres 
during performances, certainly contributed to the up-curve 



"■":•• •-' .■:-.: v-'-.-tnr^ rf2- 'to. s'&'^6"cf-^-^ 

; ;■ Mit: '2:'L'>.t£i:n;;i::'tb es^--:-' — 

'■■'.'■';! f i:ct .''>"9'C^ ■.'•■•• ■• 

Burlesque 55 

of a dull season. Maguire, always first (or close and often 
legally defended second) in the theatrical mode, announced a 
July 2nd opening of "the grand operatic, spectacular, diabol- 
ical, musical, terpsichorean, farcical burletta of The Seven 
Sisters " with a fervid, pro-Union epilogue v/ritten especially 
for the occasion "by Walter Lcman. 

The Seven Sisters was one of the most successful 
of the extravaganza burlesques. The San Francisco production 
followed upon a run of eight months at the Laura Keone Thea- 
tre in Now York. The Bulletin for July 5, 1861 maintained 
its usual hauteur in burlesque matters: 

" The Seven Sisters will be repeated tonight. 
This piece, as a very juvenile critic remarked, 
has neither head nor tail, and we may add, there 
is not much body too. It is a forage of thea- 
trical stuff, which, from its excess of absurd- 
ity, is occasionally amusing. The 'political 
hits' give it a sort of artificial spasmodic 
life; while the number of 'supes,' male and fe- 
male, and the nev/ scenery please the spectators 
who love show. The scene 'behind the scenes,' 
the drill of female Zouaves, the dialogue be- 
tween Columbia (Mrs. Vfoodward) and Uncle Sam 
(W. Leman) with the illustrative tableaux are 
the chief points in the piece." 

Walter Leman 's epilogue v;as an elaborate obituary 
for Colonel Ellsworth, quick hero of the Union cause. Leman 
used old Doctor Collyer's technique of the tableaux vivants, 
up-to-dating it as Uncle Sara's Magic Lantern . 

The Bulletin of August 24, 1861 printed further 
details : 

"The spectacle of The Seven Sisters is still on 
the run here. Last night, Mr. Leman, in the 
character of »Uncle Sam' recited the following 


-■■. w ,, -: - - .-.- , . r^' lorvr ■'-■•'■ ^rrS; t^ZiJI. 

"IXr:;.-.r>qi;.i> -noJ^ctiiv/ 9;j^,olJ"-;- .-„....,>-Diq .v^iviol £ 'i-i^iw "ate' 
;.,-^.. ■ -- ,:j.3 .j-aon Dxi;^ ■^.. ■....:.. ■j..av.' n^^c.:^- ■._ . ,;;-^^-'"'' 
— :.-.± ..:....: Biii.Qj orfft its crlcfrK-w ;tf!5,to 3p run -o noqi; 'fc»?'.'^''- ' 

■ - ■■■:o'":;nin .oi/ps.-aE'ri/o .-^2 direct wjsxi .T •■''•- ••'.■. 

■n -odi oL.lHv i 


;-;;:t^i.r'::;.i:'':C -:-i..n:' }iJQ:::.-^^ 

Burlesque 56 

original lines, peculiarly appropriate to the 
times, drew down 'thunders of applause* repeat- 
ed again and again: 

"'How many braves have fallen to uphold that flag. 
Which men, misled, througli treason's ditch would 

drag J 
No more shall gleaming blade or booming gun 
V/ake Ellsworth, Corcoran, or Cameron, 
Or Lyon,— fallen in the bloody fray, 
Vifhich Sigel's valor has redeemed the day I 
Sigel i Yifith face turned ever toward his foes. 
Making his bloody record as he backward goes. 
Peace to their dust J While love of coiintry leads 
The nation's sons to emulate their deeds, 
Around their graves her daugliters shall repair. 
And, weeping, lay their blooming chaplets there; 
TiVhich every Union heart — whatever betide— 
Beats firmer for the cause for v/hich they died. ' 

"As Mr. Leman is v/ell known to the readers of 
this journal for his patriotism and poesy, we 
presume that he is the author of the spirited 
verses given above. The Seven Sisters will be 
repeated, once more, this evening, when a nev/ 
audience may hear 'Uncle Sam' himself relieve 
his mind in these lines...." 

Following the run of The Seven Sisters , Maguire 
became involved in one more of his numerous first-rights con- 
troversies. Production of Boucicault's Colleen Bawn was the 
issue and the management of the Metropolitan was the plantiff . 
When Maguire lost the case and was forced to close his run of 
the play, he showed his astute showmanship by reopening 
diately with the patriotic display of The Seven Sisters . For 
several nights, the Union sympathy of the city packed Ma- 
guire 's Opera House and reacted as expected to Leman's flag- 
waving finale. 


The 1861-62 season was particularly embittered: di- 
rectorates of the theatres v;ere dissolved and realigned; the 


f*£lj OCT 9jj8i:iqoi''iqB. YXisJtJ[prj.P.?f- ^eecti:■S. S.nn}.^-Ho- 

(.. ' • ...-.- 

I VGi)- t. 

-««-o£pi/cd' 'i<:^/J^.;._;../. ./ij|/?jip4; rrr^Iny' " 
lift- r:a:J^)isoi- !>rfc^' Q>f- rsv r^5-.^<- Olrs-ji- , -v^r rtnr;oJ ^tM bA" 

-iioo c:*r(f»i.'i-sJ;.'2'if"i !|>/:£>rt9fiu/n eXd 1©% ^rrow one rvi LevXovni o/naooiil^ 
ai<cj- gfiv.' i5W;=S_r^34ro& p. *':tXx/soxoxfo8 lo !Xolioijb<yz,1. *,z&lzi&>t.oti 

'to. ctjj-T. 2i:r{ oeoXo oi I>9oio^. bsv/; ^e s> srf3 rfaoC oiiJJ^cJ.': ne.?f.V 

Burlesque 57 

legal entanglements for first dramatic rights became more and 
more inscrutable; the temperamental gorge of the stars rose 
easily and there was a great deal of firing and rehiring* 
Norton the First , a musical burlesque of the self-styled 
"Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico" 
achieved a comparative success at the Academy of Music* Cherry 
and Fair Star (also called T he Children of Cyprus ) trailed 
its foggy and ornamental machinations across the stage of the 
Opera House for brief acclaim. More than once. The 3t»ven 
Sisters was unceremoniously throvm into the breach made by 
the receding failure of legitimate drama or opera. In December 
1861, even the austere bigwigs of the State Legislature (tem- 
porarily housed in San Francisco because of the SacrEtnento 
Valley flood) voiced their concern for the execrable taste of 
the theatre-goers; seventy-five of the marooned senators 
voted their unrepresentative confidence in the art and life 
of Mrs. Hayne, courageous upholder of legitimate drama's palo 

The vaudeville, minstrelsy, and burlesque of the 
melodeon shows took more and more shape in the threatening 
baclcgrotind of theatrical life. It v/as clear that before long 
the censored modes of the music hall v;ould step down ag- 
gressively and take over the big theatres. In March 1862, 
Maguire tried to get his affairs adjusted to the inevitable. 
First he moved his dramatic company from the Opera House to 
the Metropolitan in which he had recently bought an interest. 

»5?^.?:':i-'lo'i"- i>n6 sr.ii'.f^'- 'rfc^JiP-ot-' t.ce-T:^ r; -rev --r-.-'j .or.'-f. XJ^iaflO 

floXY^«-^-t®e Oi^'3" 1o : ■ -■- . ^^^_ _;--•• ■'(^^'^'■^i 

"cr'fxoW V} ic^3o:roi<i bos' er-'r.-"^ bed-aJrjU oric^ to iT.s 0..:^" 

artf 1-' a^sijc' oK.-.f aac'^in-i crfoi.-ti.r.'.doSM- Iscftre;nS'';rx.o i;;i,r 'fjoc) 3:Jl 
i-^.^v,;..;. ... arjT ^-eono rc!£^Hy- aioL- »':t:lBlc:^*- ii-^iic' -Xic-v! q»Tjj.oH B'i©q.O 

~ftre-M)f oiw^^r.-jl;- -.'.T .^^.-tsctr. jJh In ^.^s■w;^IcI aao.:fBUJ5 drl^t neve ,,Id3X 
"to oi-a&i oICH-tfooxo :>i{:: 't'^J'^ rri^rr^iii,-^; ix,-;/!.:? ijooiov (Jbooll YtJi^'^V 

olil Uip oTU {^rii i'i oonbtxi /--■?;& uvLtt tjtoeo'iqe'x/tt; Tlorfj Lodov 

blrc ■-. '>ir. .. ;!■ oir.f.-J" >.■:': r..r ic 'i iibt. -irLriv 2ii-:>i;> fe::.fjc-:- < OiT:'?r£-'!-I ^t'-iM *to 

'^.n* .• ';'--:•%' e'/i:t ri! aqVirffe s^'o'ra fena ■a-yjx^fj liooi s?.'oj:!o noeholsin 

--. cfETiJt -raaid T'/j'-y cfi •.f>lii. i;B0ii:J.e9xi^ 'to bniso'i^ 

■'-;;:•: awof? qo^a 'Mi/cv/ -X'Jifef' "olBWEr srid^ "to Q&irpm .Jbotipr.nso orf:t 

-I .-i',!^. •^-■i7'']BiEij?^"l'vrtAr.jsc'o ■D^.'^iJiSri-xb t.ti.iil fie von erf ctaii!^ 

Burlesque 58 

Here he continued operatic and dramatic performances, thus 
salvaging his persistent love of culture. He, perhaps sadly, 
reopened his Opera Plouse as The Varieties, engaging Frank 
Hussey as manager. 

Programs at The Varieties proved as flexible as the 
name. Maguire very deliberately tried everytliing. As a re- 
sult, the programs v/ero shapeless potpourris without any 
particular drawing power: elements of minstrelsy v/ere thrown 
in; short farces were played as afterpieces; costume-stifled 
extravaganzas were headlined. The tone of the whole show 
was Innocuously mild;Maguire was out for a compromise between 
the obvious taste of the times and a profitable, whole-family 
program. Interspersed ballet, v/ith a daring kick or two, was 
the only liglit touch at The Varieties. 

The Opera House dtiring October 1862 shook off its 
brief indignity and survived by alternate runs of minstrelsy 
and grand opera. In December, Maguire organized an excellent, 
new minstrel troupe, including such featured players as Silly 
Birch, the Misses Jennie and Alicia Mandoville, and Harry 
Courtaine. Harry Courtaine offered the most intense light of 
the company. Without a doubt one of the great talents of the 
California stage, he continued to truncate his career with 
all-absorbing, well-publicized intoxication v^rhich usually de- 
livered him into the hands of the law. He also, however, con- 
tinued to reappear in theatrical history, as nov/ in Maguire 's 
new company, v;ith apparently undiminished vigor and artistry. 

rissv/ctod oeictO'iqitioo ^s •irj,*):. isso. za^'T fnLs3%&^^i.ibl.lin x^^"<^^'^' 

t;xlxi' 3£ sTC-j^iilq i)£rx;/«:^«^i>'5r done ■^nlt^Lok-il ^ocucni lai-cinir. 

•'. ' 9T.xiJ-jsI.I fjX i7on dR ^ijj^'cJd-p/ri Isr.-i-:\'* nl 'tM^qquet od bounJLi 

Burlesque 59 

filling the roles of burlesque clowns (which he usually 
chose) with ironic finesse. The press invariably praised his 
performance . 

Survival of the fittest is apparently in the long 
run a sound enou^ rule. But the run has to be rather long. 
For instance: Harry Courtaine's burlesque of King Lear as 
King Blear is lost; (his performance would be irrecoverable 
anyway) but beyond that loss, there is the loss of that sort 
of b\irlesque script vrtiich was perhaps never more than a se* 
ries of crude cues on the player's cuff, and swift flashes of 
imagination in production. Meanwhile, the inn\imerable scripts 
of respectable bvirlesque are carefully preserved. They have 
assumed for the most part a graveyard complexion to be looked 
upon only by the scholar; the law of siorvival has duly worked 
out. The liveliest part of the early San Pranoisco bur- 
lesque, that of the melodeons and such men as Courtaine and 
Leman at the big theatres, is irreparably faded. 

It is interesting to remember that the early Euro- 
pean theatre was in many respects bxirlesque of the ch\irch 
dogma; this early drama has in large part s\jrvived because of 
its central reference. There was an established path in peo- 
ple's minds by indiich to transmit it. The folklore of an 
early California, however, was a rapidly fluctuating, decen- 
tralized mass of immediate political Issues; there was neither 
the mental predisposition nor the desire to transmit the 

y;II.atiejj erf jcioidv?) eiwpXQ t 'elo*? ad* sftlXil'l 

grioi erfi nl r^XinsafiqqB el cTaajcfll erfct lo XsviviwS 
,SnoI larlrfii «?'J o:J bb4 flirrs a-i^ -t;5 .fXifi rigx/ons biu'oe 
?^^ ;': ,i ^° ej/peeXtvd s ' ©nifl.+itJtoO v- soruB^Br 

9d fiXuotr oonam-jolfgH sld) lizql bX ^ .1 

!d:i $icm nevp.t eqAriieq ^jjv dp trim iqlnoR ewpeeXiud lo 
lo cedefiXI iliwa fcrte jllf^P e'^e-^eXq 0i iio bsuo ebuio lo edl^i 
8:iqXioe sXcJiS'XdciifnfiX Qrf;J tOXXritfJOBeM ,rrpXioj:'toTq ni no 
'V- : " reiiT .^ev-iaeeiq ^IXtrle'r^c . . • oXcfB^oaqeei ."Jo 

JE>e3f ooX ©d c;f noXxeXqnsQ,7 Jjis.^^dVflrig s irtMH iRom erfcJ v 
i>e!>f'rcMft ^Li.'b eosi LbvIvhjb ^o wbX erii ^.i^sl.pdoe eri:J ^ Y^no aoqu 
.r.TXfd oop^*jiXij/r^ iu>v Tf..?«i.B ©d^ lo ?/^<?.q .:teoiX^viX drlT »^ifo 
ba£ enl^i:: :i©tp. xtox/E fin»^iJoXjem ©dct lo isrij .3jt;ne,o.C 

.69.bfil .YX.o>%9qs.'i'xi: ai: ,es'x;fjB©rl;f 3 Id edJ ..• 

"oxcf'-l yIibo Sri* iadi r.a-iC'£xr.-^t o.- . inX bX *X 

rioT- :iolzsjd e^oeqasr^ ^^najn (iX .r-.. >,q 

'it v^-^aoetf bevlv/ws: ti&q ^^x»l aZ pftd aitteiXi rXnas eXd* jtajngpb 
-r?i£C' ,.wf ret;- ..; ,v .Bj?,w Qjied?" .ar .> b*.1 

,^:^ ': erRT jitfX JXmen^* o* ^oX^'fr. Y<* efinXa e'>»/.s 

iart a? • .. Xf\nX*iXqc ,P>"tftJ^.fi0fnmX lo eem Jbei 

on* 'i^aXafti: -.teXJboTq /; onein ©ri* 

Burlesque ®^ 

satire of one issue into the time of another. 

Early in 1863 it was disclosed that lobbying at the 

State Capitol had asstimed the rather substantial nature of 

bribery. On February 14, King Caucus , Walter Leman's satire 

of the scandal, opened at the Opera House. The San Francisco 

opening of the burlesque, which had already been successfully 

shown in Sacramento, was annoimced by the Dai ly Alt a Califo rnia 

of February 14, 1863 in these ironic terms: 

"Maguire's Opera House: Mr. Walter Leman's ex- 
travaganza. King Cau cus which made such a hit 
at Sacraraento")^ will 5e produced this evening, 
and of course will attract all who dabble in 
politics. " 

Leman, in his Memories of An Old Actor , includes 
the following description of this play; 

"The biennial session of the State Legislature 
occurred that year, and certain charges of 
bribery with respect to the election of one of 
its honorable members, made a great commotion 
in political circles; the matter was ventilated 
in the House, and was for the time the talk not 
only of Sacramento, but of the whole State. I 
took advantage of this public exposure by com- 
posing a political squib, under the title of 
King Cau cus f or The Sen atoria l Muddle, which 
hit the pWlic fancy, and filleT" the^'fcEeatre&r 
a week. This little extravaganza was arranged 
in 'four sessions,' and the characters were 
'made up' and recognized as prominent members 
of the Legislature. The bill was headed with 
the couplet: 

'Scheming Rogues with forms to mock us. 
Straggling one by one to Caucus.' 

"And to enhance the effect, the 'original ward- 
robe' in which one 'honorable gentleman,' was 
charged with proposing to a third 'honorable 
gentleman,' was brought from the 'Golden Eagle 
Hotel' and used for the same purpose on the 

J;;,'. to'dilTi 

j^mi^'$ ■siiSO'Si -^t^^li r- 

Burlesque 61 

stage. The squib answered completely the p\ir- 
pose for which it was intended, and caused a 
good-natured laugh all around." 

The text of King Caucus is not extant. At any rate, its 
references would he so particular as to be almost unin- 


The spring season of 1863 was taken up at the Opera 

House by a number of romantic extravaganzas. Maguire observed 

the dull response of the audience to the cl\itnsy attempt's tb 

present contemporary situations through the dead weight of 

mythological paraphernalia. He also observed the Immediate 

liveliness of the audience when the ballet kicked out for its 

routine. Evidently he assumed that a ballet corps was the 

key to public enthusiasm; he immediately en^loyed as maltres 

de ballet the famous dancers, Mile, Caroline Acosta and M. 

Hippolyte Wiethoff , and then advertised locally for a corps 

dQ ballet which finally included fifty San Francisco women. 

With determined faith. Maguire then injected a ballet routine 

into the most staid regions: the heart-wringing denouement 

of a serious play would be either stalled or crowned with a 

sudden line-up of pxiffing danseuses. 

That something was wrong is Indicated by the next 
twist .in the season. The ballet experiment gave way to a 
high pressure series of sensational plays: East Lynne , The 
Dead Heart , and The Mistake of a Life appeared with no inter- 
ims whatsoever for breathing. 

.i' t.5»Fst6^'l'-' ' ■' -^v , .',v:'. ■..■,: ;''.i ,"•..'; ' • "''^&;3' ' • '■ • ■ 

■ ,^i.'- -y. il it:' 

jj^ayaetj:^5 >-v.!:l.-- • ■ . ■■•■--i;.:'>V;'?.'. •- • -i'- •^i.-.'.i';- ■■•■ 

■ . ■ -v :*■;.; •■i« cT{;t ■ • . '-iv.:-. .;/Rt off ' 

. . ';;•?.■■ .•5..' '^o. : 'tSfyfeocBilw Bjv^-,?' 


And still the audiences trickled Into sparse con- 
formity: empty rows, and empty spaces within rows — the lost 
teeth of theatrical vent\ires. Something sensational was 
needed to turn the tide from the melodeons, something vio- 
lent. Adah Isaacs Monken did it — an attractive woman in 
ti^ts, strapped to the back of a real horse, riding her 
charger dizzily up a scenic ramp and offstage. Maguire 
brought "The Menken" as Mazeppa to San Francisco in August 
1863, The lassitude of theatre audiences was instantly jerked 
up to a thrilling response. It was not the person of Men- 
ken herself; other Mazeppas followed all over the city. The 
hoop-tearing, acrobatic quality of Mazeppa' s Pegasean ascont 
polarized the San Francisco theatres for more than a year. 
Lotta Crabtree was moderately successful in a season of 
farces and a musical burlesque of Jenny Lindj Peter and Caroline 
Richings held out without loss in a season of romantic opera; 
several of Boucicault's new plays had short, well reviewed 
runs J the San Francisco Minstrels maintained their steady 
popularity at the Eureka Theatre* But throughout 1863 and 
1864 there was a constant and profitable reversion to Mazep- 
pa 's enwrapt disappearance into the terror of the Gothic 
scenery. Six of the San Francisco theatres opened the fall 
season of 1864 v/ith some version of Mazeppa , each being ad- 
vertised as employing the wildest horse, the most beautiful 
woman, the longest ramp, the most convincing rocks, S\irely 
the most entertaining was the burlesque version of Mazeppa at 

iBBW 'lartoiviiynoe ■^dtiiH^ Brno's, •ve^'i;. •>tf^r-':- 

• •i:t3-;e'n:t ;?.■?. "m: •*--^ •■■; '-iy).!) ns^fnoM zbB,- 

-iie^: 'i.; iii^-ryr&ii ■i'.rl^ i^oiii e^w M \^^-TPicq;s6*i ■<)^iLS.itiii 

Burlesque 63 

the Bella Union music hall, which announced that the leading 
lady would be changed for each scene throughout the play« 
Variety if nothing else; the heroine would not be given even 
the duration of one performance to pall on her audience. 

Mazeppa's omnipresent flight into the empyrean left 
a boredom in its wake which theatrical managers strove to 
dispel. Events in the country itself were moving with 
such rapidity that the stimulation of the theatre could 
hardly be felt. Maguire, as always throughout his career, 
continued his protean antics in the eye of public taste. 
With Charles Kean and his wife, the former Ellen Tree, 
engaged at the Opera House in a season of Shakespeare, 
Maguire kept his hands on a sure thing in the fall of 
1864 with Backus and his minstrels at the Eureka. The bur- 
lesque elements of these minstrel programs are lost along 
with the satirical subtleties of the melodeons. But there is 
assurance, time and again in the press, that the minstrels 
held a constant audience with their irrepressible humor in 
the face of all events. 

The moribund condition of the theatre in the middle 
sixties was symbolized by the opening of Mechanic's Pavilion 
in December 1864. Under the management of John Wilson, the 
public was subjected to a hippodrome hypodermic. Roman char- 
iot races, fancy riding, and educated horses were presented. 

^tlis^sli oiti JM^i^.:: i\e-0fi.^hK*:Hi^;,^d^4:p}^;,^ .ii&ri aiaim nola'ij ■£iX.ZoQ..<idi ^ 

»S9iT naixsr tacitiol ^Siti ,e'iJ?? eiri brjR aa.9^- sel-jBriO dd-iV 
,diBeq£»>Jfid2 1o itof/j.^^ /^ r/i: eet/o,^ ,^-^.C;gO ed;t cfs ber^i/gne 
lo Hal »:ii al ^aldji ^tise /. .:.;• eftn^/.i slri ;? ixj^-^ 

-lo'cf sriT .sifatx/a L-.d.l ^^ ^f^'^fsafffl s.i4 A^"^ exnlOfiQ iisbi- 

■'6-1 -iTi'ierfv' 1.73 . =.'-nof>-;^.oii£K'{i srii Ip z^l^^&liXSj^Ji isoljl^Be eii^ rid'JJv; 

nJ^ loroxrri oXdl&ssnviTjsrf-Tt -yit'-ificf -4? tw .dtifj.e.iJbyp Jci^isitoo & -^-f.od 

_.,xiMa'i.xa IXf lo 003'} edd 

.cui;:f .tnoaXtV . .• /,tjf;i;ra*3-i!jf,\j^3..!;Afi3 v'x.f.biiU ^. ^88X..i©drJ9a ©a ni 

'-•.:.:; fiflCToH ,;:3i.':i.'5.t?f::'3;a|r:r •&f,!.i|'5jsa;j<-v^ <^.-j-,ii8'todtcJj^*' ,'*'^'' O-JXdiCfq 

Burlesque 64 

But with hardly an audible neigh, this horse show foundered, 
and the newspaper columns of the time furnish no telltale 
Y;ord of wreckage. 

The year 1865 brought signal honors for Maguire's 
San Francisco Minstrels. They had been subjecting personali- 
ties, local politics, and national events to a brisk patter 
of burlesque for months at the Eureka Theatre. The success 
of this phenomenal run at the Eureka pointed to an Eastern 
tour. Before their departure, Maguire installed the company 
at the Academy of Music for a series of benefit performances. 
With occasional benefits, the troupe played at the Academy 
for almost two months in the spring of 1865. 

As a madman's catharsis for the Civil V/ar, the as- 
sassination of Lincoln arrested the life of the whole nation 
in April. The Worrell sisters, Irene, Sophie, and Jenny, 
received scant notice for their season of burlesque at the 
Opera House. There was no upswing in the theatre until the 
fall of 1865. Maguire and \%eatleigla engaged in a well pub- 
licized controversy for first rights to a new Boucicault 
play, Arrah-na-Pogue . Wheatleigh, victorious, produced the 
play very successfully at the Metropolitan. Maguire retali- 
ated with a burlesque of the play, which he called A rrah- no- 
Poke, or Arrah of tho Cold Pomme de Torre. The Bulletin for 
November 15, 1865 carries a valuably detailed announcement 
of the opening of this burlesque at the Academy of Music: 

_ ■ o --^-j;..;:!!. lo'i _;.::prton :i,£rc:^- Ji-io.j-i'-"'-: .'.-oj. a. -ov err" 
-IXarrcaiGC gnxcfoetf ' " ■ t;.^a:fenJ:M oo&j.vv i-r- ii£'; 

-cfi/q XXav; b ni bo^B^ftp rfgleX:tBori>/ I>nfi oilirgfiM .598/ 
.•tJcj.yolox/oQ won fi oi s.i^Iiftii ;faT:l'i. lol, \;s.'JSTrc«xd"nQp ::;^;:x;.'i.i' 
o£'J bootJbo''^- toi.oly ,risXpX!:t£5Q,^; ♦ psJ ^o'l' jirVi-rfij'fi'xA .y^^Xq 

• ;:iA i).oXX*i.^ -.i,. ./4.' o.c;' *.- ., 

Burlesque 65 

An original burlesque on Arrah-na-Pogue , styled 
Arrah-no-Poke, or Arrali of the Cold Pormne de 
Terre , will be performed tonight, Mr. Setchell 
personating "Shun the Post," and Miss Clarkson, 
the Worrell Sisters, doing up the excruciating 
and melodious business.... 

Cast of Arrah-no - Poke, or Arrah of the Cold 
Pomme de I'erre ; 

Shun the Post, a Highlow Hod-Carrier, with the 
song of "Eatin' of the Greens," and several 
enchoruses : Setchell 

Arrah Melissa, called by the peasantry, for 
short, Arrali Moliss, and nicknamed by others 
Arrah-no-Poke, or Arrah of the Cold Pomme de 
Terre — not a small potato part at all--with 
several songs : Miss Louisa Clarkson 

Squeamish but Cool, the old Cool himself who has 
a weakness for taking things — with several 
songs : Miss Sophie Worrell 

Fanny Steampower, a descendant of the powers 
that B. McCoul--with n\imerous songs, to say 
nothing of a duet: Miss Irene Worrell 

Col. Bogtrotter 0' Gravy, the Original Gravy— his 
first entry for the plate in this engrossing 
character: Harry Wall 

Majority Coughlin, a hack of the Hinglish 
Harmy, with a strong haccent and a hacking 
cough: George Pardey 

Francois Flnnegan, an P. F, of no character at 
all, but a Picacious though misused individ- 
ual, with song and a sonorous opening snorus : 


Skaty Welshrabbit, fond of a swig and a jig, 
and of beating Flnnegan — in which latter 
taste she is no exception to the company 
she keeps— with any number of "Barndoor 
Jigs": Little Jennie (V/orrell) 

Mod. L. Pliceman, who makes his prisoners com- 
fortable, and does not object to the beating 
of Informers. 

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Alphonse de Riley, Rudolphe O'Rourke, Theodore 
Mulligan, and other of the gentry, with peas- 
ants and peasant girls too renumerative to 
mention, etc., etc. By others of the Pleas- 
ant Company. 

Synopsis of Scenery and Incidents: 

Scene 1st: A street in a city with a lamp-post 
to it — Shun the Post does not appear till 
afterwards. The lamp-post has a patent Fin- 
negan attachment. It is discovered that the 
attachment is an aeolian one. Arrival of a 
rival — the sleeping Finnegan is robbed by 
Squeamish but Cool, which difficult and dan- 
gerous feat is performed in full view of the 
audience. Enter Shun the Post with a hod and 
a soliloquy. Fanny Steampower appears. 
The story of Arrah and the Poke. An attempt 
to bear good stock; it fails. Enter Arrah 
with reproaches, the whole closing with a 
grand concerto. 

Scene 2nd: Grand effect of changing the flats, 
but leaving one flat without change. The 
faithful Finnegan still sticks to his post, 
and here an effect never before observed will 
be produced. The interior of a High-low barn. 
Enter a number of honest but respectable peo- 
ple. A High-low Wedding— opening Chorus. 

Enter Squeamish but Cool— it is fly-time with 
him. Song— "Dear Mother, I've Come Home to 
Drink." Love and jealousy, but no murder. 
Song by Steampower — a perfect Calliope: "Kiss 
some more Ladies, Kiss some more." Exit two. 
Skaty Welshrabbit comes to the chalk. Barn- 
door jig. After a dance, a song— "The Eatin' 
of the Greens." Entrance of O'Gravy, Cough- 
lin and others too numerous to mention. No 
rest for the virtuous, and the arrest of 
Arrah. The fight and the finding of the 
boots. Noble Conduct of Shun, who owns the 
leather* He is hurried off to prison and in- 
vites Arrah to accompany him. The result 
Duet— «I Won't Go, Sir." 

Scene 3rd: (Very short fortunately; thrown in 
principally to give time to set a longer one. ) 

r^i\^' -t; 

Burlesque 67 

Interview betv/een the 0' Gravy and the Steam- 
power. He asketh and she consenteth. Exit 
Colonel and enter Squeamish. The Colonel's 
dish is upset, and a dev wet is the natural 

Scene 4th: Showing hoiv Court-martials are con- 
ducted in Ireland. Finnegan wins his suit 
but gets beat all the way through. The 
Straightforward conduct of Shun. Enter the 
Steampower and the old Cool — no coolness be- 
tween them now. The greenbacks of the Colo- 
nel gone back upon, in consequence of which 
he goes back upon Shun. The tearful sentence 
and the Pirate's (Boo C. Coe's) Chorus. It 

Scene 5thr In a cell. Modern improvements, — 
Shun and the model Policeman. Enter Finnegan 
who gets licked. He returns to his Post — 
held there by an of-coated tale. The voice 
of the Arrah is heard outside. Escape of 
Shun, v/ho avails himself of a favorable op- 
era- tune-ity. 

Scene 6th: Perilous situation of Shun. Grand 
illusion produced by the sinking of a ladder 
with a lad upon it. The beautiful fidelity 
of Arrah who refrains from poking her husband 
off the ladder. F. F. may now be construed 
to mean Fiendish Finnegan. He attempts to 
upset a rival. Vengeance comes dovrn upon him 
like a thousand of bricks. He dies to slow 
music, which is heard in the distance. Grand 
entry of every one who can be bought, borrowed 
or stolen for the occasion. 

Grand Finale: Closing Chorus by the strength of 
the company, assisted by the reformed Inform- 
er. Moral: it does an Informer good to kill 

Grand Tableau: Showing Old Ireland in Her Glo- 
ry. Friday Evening — November 17th: First 
Benefit of Miss Emily Thorne. " 

On November 16, 1865 the critic of the Bulletin . 

bravely threaded his way through the amazing intricacies of 

the plot: 

Burlesque 68 

"The new 'b-urlesque of Arrah>no-Poke , written in 
this city, was produced last night to a full 
house. It is neatly written in the usual mock 
heroic verse of its class, sprinkled with mild 
witticisms, local hits, and thrusts at Bouci- 
cault, and Interspersed with well-performed 
music . The bxirlesque is hroad without vulgar- 
ity. The song 'Eatin' of the Greens' is quite 
laughable, but the sentimental songs introduced 
were out of character. .. .Mr. Setchell, as Shun 
the Post, kept the audience almost constantly 
laughing. The burlesque of the sensation climb- 
ing scene is produced by 'Sh\in,' carrying a 
hodful of bricks , climbing to an upper window 
in the Occidental Hotel on a ladder which sinks 
as he rises, 'Arrah Melissa' (Miss Clarkson, 
who showed more spirit than usual), awaits his 
approach, singing the plaint which the original 
'Arrah' pours forth to the moon on the Castle 
heights. A few bricks dropped on the sneaking, 
mock representative of Peeny produce the catas- 
trophe of the parody. Arrah-no-Poke will be re- 
peated tonight together with the comedy of Cal - 
ifornia Diamonds , in which appears Miss Thorne, 
who will also sing the popular patriotic song 
of ' Shout for our Banner • ' " 

The burlesque was repeated on the 23rd, 25th, and 

27th of November, The Bulletin for the 27th discloses the 

author of the piece : 

"The performance tonight, for the benefit of 
C. H, Webb J author of the clever burlesque 
Arrah-no-Poke , will consist of the farce S tage 
Struck , in which Miss Thome and Mr, Setchell 
appear, and the burlesque aforesaid. Several 
speeches and a 'banquet' are promised." 

The Daily Alta California for November 27,1865, 

brought the curtain down on the much discussed burlesque in 

an interesting manner : 

"Author's Night. — This evening Arrah-no-Poke 
will be presented for the last time, the occa- 
sion being the benefit of the author, Mr. C. H. 
Webbo The burlesque has proved a decided hit » . . . 
Its chief merit, and one which commends it to 
eulogy as a burlesque, is the closeness with 

;..!■■: lJ.- 


■t?>W:' CliXiri-' 


Burlesque 69 

which the original play is adhered to in spirit 
and plot. The Court Scene in Arrah-na-Pogae 
is almost a burlesque in itself, but in Arrah - 
no-Poke its absurdities are broadened and 
brought out in bold relief by stripping the 
scene of all sentiment and pathos. It would 
have seemed that so clever and successful a 
burlesque should have had a larger run when it 
is considered that the original was played fif- 
ty nights, but it must be remembered that the 
latter brought out a class of people seldom 
seen at theatres, wrtiile the former has not so 
many pathetic and patriotic elements to commend 
it to the national pride of our Celtic residents, 
though the beautiful tableau with which it clos- 
es is evidently Intended as a set-off for having 
been obliged to travesty the Irish character. 
But the travesty is most good-naturedly done, 
and bears not a single grain of malice.'' 

With the Pomme de Terre controversy cold and burled 
there was no pronounced theatrical flurry in the winter of 
1865-66 other than the appearance of the Buislay family. The 
Bui slays, talented exponents of the Martlnetti-Ravel pantomime 
technique, presented their spectacle-pantomime The Sheep's 
Foot to crowded houses. This was followed by a production 
of the faery-spectacle of The Elves with Caroline Chapman as 
collaborating star. Burlesque was still floundering around 
between the costume-hoavy extravaganzas of the big theatres 
and the unprintable satire of the melodeons. 

As a sure bet, Maguire revived the dormant Seven 
Sisters . In March it was announced that fifty ladies had 
been engaged for the Zouave Drill, and a third act entitled 
An Allegory of the Union had been added. It is clear even 
at this distance that any sharp burlesque point was muffled 
by that extra flounce or two which was essential in order that 
each successive extravaganza might be the best yet and the 

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Burlesque 70 

grandest. The Seven Sisters conducted the fifty ladles 
through fifteen nights of successful Zouave drilling at the 
Academy of Music. The Opera House had been closed for redec- 
oratlon In deference to the engagement of Edwin Forrest, an- 
nounced for May. 


The engagement of Porrost definitely raised Ma- 
gulre»s prestige, but from all indications depressed his fi- 
nances. Porrost attacked his roles with a heavy attempt at 
his old form, and the public was politely respectful but 
somewhat bored. The annoiincement that Lady Don, English co- 
medienne, had been engaged by Maguire for August, got the 
public again on edge. 

George E. Barnes published his reminiscences of 

Lady Don in the Bulletin for March 13, 1897: 

"Another episode illustrating the romance of 
dramatic life is that of Lady Don and her er- 
ratic husband. Sir William Don, baronet. This 
peculiar individual, who was Scotch by birth 
and of good family, was unf ortxmately, like the 
proverbial princes of his own country, 'poor, 
but proud. ' Too proud to work, and therefore 
resorted to all sorts of haphazard means of ex- 
istence, the stage among others. While flirt- 
ing with the drama, he also flirted with and 
married Miss Emily Saunders, an actress whose 
father kopt a sort of amusement garden near 
Liverpool, England. He brought her nothing, 
excepting his small title; but a woman dearly 
loves such a trifle, and her gratification was 
that from being plain Emily Savmders, actress 
and daughter of a caterer, she became Lady Don. 
The baronet was a man of great stature, a son 
of Anak, measuring six foot and a half or more 
in his stockings; but this exceptional height 
Instead of Impairing his usefulness on the 

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stage, rather added to it In biirlesque, the 
line which he adopted. . . . 

"Lady Don, his widow, appeared in this city for 
the first and only time in 1866, at the Washing- 
ton-street Opera House, xinder the engagement of 
Mr, Thomas Maguire, and the poor old 'Napoleon' 
had a world of trouhle with her. She was in a 
republic and seemed to think it was necessary 
to her self-respect to assume all the hauteur 
belonging to such an aristocrat like herself, 
even in a small way, as a Scottish baronet '^s 
widow. She made it very warm for the attaches 
of tho theatre if thoy defaulted in the slight- 
est manner toward the ladyship, and the lives 
of the property-man and of Cheeks, the director 
of the stage, became a burdon toiliem. Maguire 
was kept busy listening to her tearful protests 

for she cried as easily and as often as Job 

Trotter, Alfred Jinglo's confidant— and keeping 
tho poace between herself and the worried stage 

"Lady Don was a fine figure of a woman on the 
stago. In height sho was exceptionally tall in 
regard to her sex as her departed husband had 
been as a man. She was a marvel of graceful 
proportion and harmonious action. Dressed as 
Leicester in the burlesque of 'Queen Elizabeth '^«' 
—to which most of her engagement was confined-- 
sho was a picture j and tho natural symmetry of 
her ladyship's lower limbs was the admiration 
of the golden youth of the city and the envy of 
all the ladies. 

"She had a clear, leading soprano voice, and a 
very expressive one, withal, when heard in 
'Good-by, Sweetheart,' a song that she made 
popular in all quarters. While here Lady Don 
lived at Occidental Hotel, but in 'splendid 
isolation, ' as Joe Chamberlain said about the 
international position of the British Empire. 
Many ladies called to pay their respects to her 
ladyship; but they were 'not-at-homed' and, did 
not repeat the visit . When Lady Don returned 
to England she took the theatre at Nottingham 

if Correct title: Kenilworth ; in which Queen Elizabeth was 
a character, cfl Next page. 


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Burlesque ^2 

and married a Mr. Wilton. Her ladyship and her 
title have long ago gone the way of all flesh. 
'Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney- 
sv/eepers, come to dust^' according to the song 
in Cymbeline ." 

The Opera House was packed for Lady Don's opening 

night, August 6, 1866. The Bulletin for August 7 attempted a 

restrained impartiality: 

"It is no exaggeration to say that she achieved 
a brilliant triumph. It was evident from the 
first movement of her appearance that she was 
at homo on the stage. Her manner is pleasing; 
her movements aro graceful; her figure is at- 
tractive and commanding. If she is not a very 
groat;, she is a decidedly clover artist. She is 
thorotighly natural, and evidently has a profound 
contempt for anything like dramatic affectation. 
As an actross she is full of grace and vivacity; 
as a cantatricc she takes hlgli rank. She has a 
fine soprano voice, which is under thorough cul- 
tivation. As a balladlst she is among the best 
we have hoard on the Pacific Coast .... In the 
clevor burlGsquo of Konilworth she was ably sus- 
tained by Miss liato Benin , " 

The roviowor for the Daily Dramatic Chronicle adds 

some illuminating details (August 7, 1866): 

"We were glad to notice that there were a great 
number of English people present last night as 
we were sure that this portion of the audience 
quite enjoyed the very clover burlesque of 
Kenilworth which concluded the entertainment. 
It is a little too much to expect that an 
American audience can enjoy a burlesque like ^ 
Kenilworth , which occupies about an hour and 
a half in representation v/hcn they are entirely 
unable to discover the point of what wcre--whon 
the piece was produced some fifteen years ago 
at the Strand Theatre, London--its best jokes. 
The piece would require a little freshening up, 
even for the London stage at the present day. 
The dialogue is very witty, and the action of 
the play brisk and amusing,* yet in spite of 
this, long before the fall of the curtain, 
people commenced leaving the theatre, and the 

Burlesque 73 

atmosphere was delightfully cool and comforta- 
ble in consequence of the audience having be- 
come so thinned out by the time the perform- 
ance came to an end. Lady Don has scarcely 
anything to do in this piece beyond singing 
two songs. Mrs. I^te Benin acquitted her- 
self admirably both in singing and acting; 
Miss Sophie Edwin made a capital Sir Walter 
Raleigh, considering that burlesque is a 
little out of her line. H. D. Thompson's 
representation of Queen Elizabeth was a won- 
derfully comic pie CO of acting; his make-up was 
capital. W, Barry is sadly out of place in bur- 
lesque; he is too slow, and is apt to sacrifice 
the rhymes of the dialogue for tho purpose of 
interpolating 'gags' v/hich arc anything but 
funny. Ho v;as, howevor, very funny in the scono 
whero he has to do a little 'circus' with the 
hobby horse. H. Sinclair, a young actor who has 
made remarkable progress in his profession of 
late displayed considerable talent for burlesque 
in his impersonation of Tressillian. . , ." 

Tho Daily Alta California for August 13, 1865 re- 
acted warmly but late to Lady Don»s appoarancc : 

"Lady Don, and the entire Opera House Company, 
now fill that establishment to overflowing 
nightly. Kcnil worth , as it is now presented, 
combines the qualities of both historical and 
local burlesque and is put on the stage v/ith a 
cast and scenic effects such as would ensure 
its success even if far less meritorious in its 
way than it is. The character of Queen Eliza- 
beth by Thompson, is 'dressed to kill' but it 
strikes one that ho gives too much of a good 
thing — straining the burlesque a trifle beyond 
the point required. Tho steamboat scene on tho 
Thames is immense. Lady Don as Leicester, 
pleases all by her exquisite vocalization, and 
by a lavish display of personal attractions 
merits the approbation of some who are perhaps 
not fully capable of appreciating her artistic 

With Lady Don as international attraction, Maguiro 

attempted to build up a dramatic company to support her. 

Harry Courtainc, recently refurbished from another session 

■oh 8581 

B-urlesque 74 

of drunkenness and Incarceration, was engaged. Lady Don and 
Courtaine, with the assistance of I^to Denin, kept Maguire's 
fortunes afloat for a short time with a series of burlesques. 
These bvirlesquos were still of the tediously punned, mytho- 
logical, London befogged variety. The Bulletin for August 
16, 1865 has this to say of O rpheus and Eurydice ; 

" Orpheus and Eurydice formed the afterpiece. It 
is the broadest possible burlesque, and is 
adapted rather to the meridian of the circus 
than to the playhouse. It abounds in the most 
execrable puns and the most cast-iron jokes, 
and would be insufferably stupid were it not 
apparent that the aim of the author was to see 
how ridiculous he could make everything appear. 
Lady Don, Miss Kate Donln and Mrs, Harry Jack- 
son made the most of their respective parts; 
Mr. Barry was irresistible as the chaste Clo- 
tilda; Mr, Thompson's Pluto had some excel- 
lent points to it (but the idea of Pluto wield- 
ing the trident is a novel ono) ; while Harry 
Courtainc did the crusty old ferryman marvol- 
ously well, considering ho had only ton min- 
utes to prepare in. The closing tableau was 
very beautiful." 

The performance of The Boflgars ' Opera , tho first in 
San Francisco, seems however to havo offered no light whatso- 
ever to the reviewers ; 

"The management of the Opera House is attempt- 
ing too much. Six or eight new plays a week 
are more than any company in existence can mas- 
ter. As a consequence, some of the perform- 
ances, especially within the past few nights, 
have not been up to the requirements of the oc- 
casion. The Bogp;ars' Oper a, Saturday night, was 
wretchedly murdered, while "t^ie Black Domino last 
evening was almost as shabbily~porf ormed. * 

'"* Bulletin , September 11, 1866, 

Burlesque 75 

The Bulletin for September 8, 1866 had announced 
that in ''Gay's celebrated production of The Beggars' Opera , 
with the original music. Lady Don would appear as Polly, Kate 
Denin as Lucy, and Mr. Co\irtaine as Captain MacHeath." 

This tripartite stellar company closed their en- 
gagement at the Opera House, September 22 without any great 
fanfare. Lady Don returned to the East, and eventually to 
her "theatre in Nottingham, v/here she married a Mr. Wilton." 
Harry Courtaine makes another of his periodic disappearances 
from theatrical history, again carrying with him the honors 
of the show. Kate Denin stayed on at the Opera House in a 
series of stock plays starring Madame Celeste and John 
McCullough. Evidently Madame, who "came as near making a 
failure as it was possible for a great actress to do," is not 
to be confused with the Mademoiselle Celeste who furnished 
such thrilling outdoor entertainment to the gaping hundreds 
on August 6, 1866 ; 

"Yesterday hundreds went to Playos Park to see 
Mile. Celeste walk a tight-rope with a wheel- 
bar rov\r. It is almost needless to say that she 
fulfilled her engagement as advertised, as she 
has never yet disappointed the public, although 
an accident occurred which almost disabled her 
from porfor-ming the feat.... Some villainous 
wretch- -perhaps the friend of a rival — cut one 
of the connecting ropes to the main rope, and 
had it not been discovered in time, Mile. Rosa 
Celeste would have made her last ascension yes- 
terday. The rascal was, however, thwarted in 
his murderous design, and 'may his guilty con- 
science smite him in his lonely hours. '"'-^ 

■?5- Dramatic Chronicle, August 6, 1866. 

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Burlesque 76 

Other strange but genuine goings-on v/ere coincident 
with Lady Don's loudly touted engagement. The unadorned 
raillery and fearless attack of melodeon burlesque continued 
to keep this theatrical form pared down to something recog- 
nizable. The Daily Dramatic Chronicle for August 9, gives 
the following description of a program at the Olympic Thea- 

"Tonight a tremendous bill is offered on the oc- 
casion of a complimentary benefit tendered to 
Johnny de Angelis, one of the funniest Ethio- 
pian comedians on the American stage — by the 
Olympic Company. Two splendid burlesques will 
be produced this evening. Miss Charlotte Cramp- 
ton vfill appear in her great character of 
Richard Ye Third in the burlesque of that 
name, and Miss Jennie Briggs will make her de- 
but in the burlesque of Mazeppa . In addition 
to these extraordinary attractions, a fine 
First Part performance will be given, and a 
Second Part, in which the beneficiary will ap- 
pear, in connection with Low Rattler, in the 
funny act of the Strolling Actors . We are 
informed that Johnny de Angelis has great hopes 
that everyone who witnesses the performances 
tonight will cast a vote for him as independent 
candidate for the office of Chief of Police." 

The winter season of 1865-67 was taken over entire- 
ly by Alice Kingsbiiry, "The Elfin Star," and the Martinetti- 
Ravel Pantomimists. Nightly, from November 19, 1866 through 
the wholo of February 1867, tho pantomime troupe kept full 
houses at tho Metropolitan enthralled with their colorful 
gymnastic satire. The magnetism of the "Elfin Star," how- 
ever, was inscrutable. Alice Kingsbury's rolos at the Opera 
House, whore she played from October 10 to December 1, 1866, 

bf-^ifiofi xitv'ol "h'-'no^l vh/ 

Burlesque "'"7 

were as elastic as the distance from romantic comedy to broad 

farce. The critic of the Bulletin finally threw up his hands 

November 5, from any attempt to pin down the personality of 

the little star: 

"The popularity of Miss Kingsbury is a phenome- 
non in our dramatic annals. Coming here un- 
heralded and unknown, she has carried the pub- 
lic heart by storm. She enters upon the fifth 
week of her engagement with undiminished pres- 
tige, and promises to draw crowded houses for 
an indefinite time to come. It is useless to 
attempt to explain the cause of her success. 
We can hardly accoxont to ourselves for her 
witchery over us. Judged by the ordinary stand- 
ards she is not a great artist. She can hardly 
be said to have any clearly defined stylo- She 
has not a good voice: her enunciation lacks 
distinctness; sho even mispronounces faniliar 
words; her gestures are not always graceful, 
while her carriage lacks the dignity insepara- 
ble from high dramatic culture. But yet she 
charms us in spite of our conviction of her 
faults, and makes even the most hardened gray- 
beards laugh or weep at her sweet will. We 
forget the artist in the woman, and resign cwr- 
selves to the spell of her genius v;ith a happy 
obliviousness of there being any such thing as 
criticism or the need for it in the world." 

This bewitchment of the critic was no doubt arrest- 
ed by the angular clarity of a troupe of Japanese jugglers 
at the Academy of Music. These Jugglers, together with the 
Martinetti-Ravel pantomimists, kept the winter season going 
at a good clip, right up to the appearance of Robert Heller, 
the musical magician, at the Metropolitan in March. An an- 
nouncement for Maguire's Opera House quickly appeared in the 
Daily Dramatic Chronicle , March 16, 1867: 

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Burlesque 78 

"A "burlesque of Heller's entertainment, origi- 
nally written for Charles Mathew when Professor 
Anderson was the rage in London, is in prepara- 

Heller's one-man show as magician, comedian, and 

pianist, must have offered plenty of vantage for burlesque. 

There was not only the Opera House program, where 

"On three evenings also, Harry Jackson's Great 
Gun Trick, a clever imitation of some of Heller 's 
wonders, was performed."'"" 

there was also a music-hall reflection of the big theatre 


"Heller's tricks were performed in a somewhat 
novel fashion at the Olympic, by Joe Murphy, 
Johnny de Angelis, etc. and the Dead Shot drew 

Heller's serious talent received its last deflation March 22 

at the Opera House ■: 

"Maguire's Opera Plouse .■ Masonic Benefit: Harry 
Jackson will give his 'grand feats of legerde- 
main,' in imitation of Heller, and will exhibit 
the mar i one tt e s . '' '^'^ 

The complete vapidity of the spring season seems 

symbolized in Maguire's departure for the East, his eye out 

for talent. The news of importance to this history is the 

simultaneous announcement, April 3, 1867, by three theatres, 

of forthcoming productions of T he B lack Croo k. 

The opening of The Black Crook at Niblo's Garden, 
New York, on September 12, 1866 foreshadowed not only the 

•«• Daily Dramatic Chronicle, March 23, 1867 
4^* T53Zniar3h~22 , 1867 

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:f.!/o pye eXil ,d-sflS arf;; 'to'^.. a'lir^iBqoi) 2 ' stiir^B.M'.ni • ftosIXot^.Tt^s 

Burlesque 79 

future of "burlesque trut of the whole American stage. The 
best element in burlesque, the broad satire of the melodeons, 
had been carefully kept within those gay confines. The dull- 
est element in burlesque, the pun-weighted, mythological ex- 
travaganza, was obviously playing a losing game with the pub- 
lic of the "respectable" theatres. The production of The 
Black Crook took the least valuable element of melodeon bur- 
lesque; exposure of limb, thrust it into the •'respectable"ex- 
travaganza and the miracle was performed. Daring height of 
exposure, revealingly swathed in flesh-colored tights, was the 
secret stigma of theatrical thrill for crowded houses during 
a New York run of four hundred and seventy-five performances. 
Plot was gone; satire was gone. 

Burlesque ceased to develop in the direction of 
puncturing the excessive or false dignity of a legitimate 
play; or re-scaling the megalomania of personality stars; 
or making public farce of back-handed political machinations. 
Shapely legs and ballet routine became the sine qua non of 
what was still called burlesque. The proscenium kick of an 
ever longer line of neat ankles v/as to become the dominating 
action of the American stage. Two people in conflict on a 
raised platform against a dark drape, the art of the speaking 
voice and the emotional gesture, were looked upon as primitive 

Action became the use of new mechanical inventions 
for the stage: fifty buxom Thespians in the final, triumphant 

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Burlesque 80 

stance of their dance would be slowly, tantalizingly lowered 
out of sight by depressing the stage; or by the reverse 
process they would be popped out on the stage In a sudden 
whirl of pulchritude. Theatrical climax was no longer an 
intensification of feeling, but of sensation: a labyrinthine 
scenic effect would be miraculously disclosed"*, dancers in 
violent costume would whip the scene into motion; the music 
would ascend frenetically; the so-like-real waterfall would 
foam in the abyss, a last most resplendent fairy would be 
elevated on a throne from the cellar; sliding panels would 
emit a last, overwhelming exodus of gleaming, corseted 
coryphees. The final generosity of downpouring stars would 
pull the supposed last gasp from tho audience, and then, 
quickly, the audience Is held breathless by the withdrawal of 
the mist in the background, disclosing a recession of craggy 
steps each dominated by a monumental, Greekified male — and 
that is all, surely all; when presto, the eye is drawn to the 
front of the stage where four white horses, harnessed to a 
gilded chariot in the shape of an enormous conch, are being 
elevated from the pit. The queen descends from her throne 
and sits daintily in the mouth of the conch. Flowers are 
strewn. Elizabethan page boys trumpet the Irish myth off- 
stage, with an agitated retinue of Greek gods and Italian 
toe dancers singing German beer-hall music. 

The New York Times for September 3, 1866 has the 
following to say about the stage preparations for The Black 
Crook at Niblo's Garden: 


?cf blL'ovi Y'^ifil .-triQ.fonoIqtU'^f .•^eo«T. .ISflX £ j3p;,;;i0ja edi ni rase' 
Moow sXGORq s^.'tilXe j'i.KX:.Xoo Oilt moal ©aoid;^ ;4 j"IO fcGC^Bvele 

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Qiit of m/B'tb eX o'jfa QricJ= jOoaetq rrorfw ;X.' 

-'ilo fl:^YHI daX-xT - a ^gic^t^ar^ ■ . ■■■:^ .-.'^r 7-^'- --'^^I JT^ y-^-oicf 
.oxs^xi,- ■ . •arrrxaO l^i}.- 

Burlesque ^^ 

"Such a stage was never before seen in this 
country. Every board slides on grooves and 
can be taken up, pushed down or slid out at 
will. The entire stage may be taken away; 
traps can be introduced at any part at any time, 
and the great depth of the collar below renders 
the sinking of the entire scenes a matter of 
simple machinery." 

On September 17, five days after the opening of the 

show, the New York Tribune critic was finally sure of his 


" The Black Crook was played by easy stages, from 
7-3/4 o'clock until 1-1/4. Most of the auditors 
remained until the gorgeous end. Hopes were 
entertained, at ono time, that the performance 
would last until the merry breakfast bell would 
'wake the snorting citizens.' But these proved 
fallacious. By dint of great energy on the 
part of Mr. Viaieatley and the mechanics. The 
Black Crook was at length played through; and a 
patient multitude, dazed and delighted, went to 
brief dreams of fairy-land. It takes time to 
digest so much radiance, and we have not, there- 
fore, been in haste to describe this extraordi- 
nary drama. Having swallowed the rainbows, how- 
ever, it is now our pleasant duty to say that 
they are very good to take. The scenery is mag- 
nificent j the ballet is beautiful; the drama 
is--rubbish. . . .To call The Black Crook ' oti-xnal' 
is merely to trifle with intelligence. Herein, 
for example, we encounter our venerable and 
decrepit friend the Alchymist, who wants to 
live forever, and is perfectly willing to give, 
not only his own soul to the Dovil, but cvory 
other soul that ho can possibly send to Avernus . 
Here, too, is the humble youth, torn from his 
peasant maid and shut up in 'the lowest coll,' 
HaJ Hai by the Baron, cruel and bold. And 
then the Piond's Minister, the Alchymist, s\ir- 
named 'tho Black Crook' is on hand to release 
him and send him on the road to avarice, vongo- 
ancc, and perdition. Here arc the old manorial 
or baronial sorvitors, the rod-nosed steward 
and tho high-capped dame; and along with them 
comes the arch and piquant little village-maid, 
who sings a song, and smiles, and shows hor 
protty ankles to the sheepish swains. There 

I a 

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Burlesque 82 

are fairies, too, and demons; and, in the up- 
shot, of course, the former conquer the latter, 
and the parted lovers are Joined in happiness, 
and the Baron hold is run through his "bold body> 
and the Fiend is cheated of his prey, and the 
Black Crook is removed, through a dreadful hole 
in the earth, to a region of great heat and ■ 
many dragons. And that Mr. Barras calls an 
original drama! ,. .There was, in fact, no need 
of the pretense of a drama, in this instance; 
or, if there was, almost any old spectacle would 
have been preferable to The Black Cro ok. 

The tilt and lance game of the melodeons against 
the respectable theatres was played with as much gusto in New 
York as in San Francisco. During the year-long run of The 
Black Crook in New York City, the San Francisco Minstrels, 
headed by Birch, Wambold, Bernard, and Backus, were enjoying 
the great popularity of their New York City venture in a hall 
named after them, at 585 Broadway. One of their most success- 
ful bills included a number entitled The Black Cook . Niblo's 
gigantic peep-show was not only satirized in plot; it was 
announced that The Black Cook would be supported by an Afri- 
can Ballet. It is amusing to imagine the sport these master 
minstrels must have made with the new art of leg exposure. 

With an advertisement for "80 Young Ladies," March 
12, 1867, the management of the Metropolitan Theatre gave the 
first local flutter to tho invasion of Tho Black Crook and 
the now log-show conception of burlesque. Maguire and his 
Opera House quickly countered with an advertisement March 25 
for "one hundred Young Ladies." Tho most famous, perhaps, of 
all theatrical litigations had commenced. Maguire claimed to 
have purchased rights for Tho Black Crook in Now York. The 

23 evp^eLntj^ 

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0/fT ijlioY wotJ iti :I CiCiixO i,-li!Jx>Xg orfT io1 eirfairi bG3C/io«ii/q oviiyf 

Burlesque 83 

Martinettis, whose ballet troupe had been incorporated into 

the Metropolitan production, claimed that their script, which 

they called The Black Rook , was the original script and that 

Maguire was making use of a pilfered copy. The Daily Dramatic 

Chronicle , March 23; got wind of a seemingly solid case 

against Maguire : 

"The facts we are about to relate, if true, con- 
stitute a most serious charge against James 
Dowling, whilom stage manager of the Metropoli- 
tan Theatre, and the truth of them is vouched 
for by the present management of the same house. 
The information we have received is to tho fol- 
lowing effect. For some time, Mr. Dowling has 
been out of omploymont, and, knowing his cir- 
cumstancos, the managomont of the Metropolitan 
employed his wife occasionally in the ballet, 
and recently engaged him to make a copy of the 
MSS. of the Black Crook - -dividing the parts 
ready for the' use of the actors* It is charged 
that while so employed, Mr. Dowling surrepti- 
tiously obtained a copy of the play, and ap- 
propriated it to his own usejand that he after- 
ward informed the management of Maguire • s CJjora 
House that ho could put a copy of the Black 
Crook in thoir hands, and finally sold them tho 
s'tolon copy for the sum of ^100...." 

Judgo Doady, in his decision, took advantage of his 
own delicate sensibilities, bluntly doclared the Black Crook 
tho devil's concoction, unfit to bo soon, and consequently 
without the bounds of copyright protection. As a result, 
both productions steamed into full and competitive rehearsal. 
The gleeful yapping of the melodeons, about this time, added 
to the noise of the superlative adjective ballyhoo of the two 
big productions. The Olympic, completely in the swim, an- 
nounced an ambitious satire entitled The Black Hook with a 

£8 BsjpBeLtV: 

' - .. .'>..; i';. iv f-O'-'. oxfj io-Te i^eoo' rr'oio5a 
bebbA yett:t.;f zhis 6L<-r.--t(i ..erroaiJolaii eif/ ':>•; 'iniqafi^ Iirlsola erf: 

Burlesque 84 

Magulre's production was the first to open. The 

Daily Dramatic Chronicle for April 16, 1867 gives a thorough 

report of the occasion: 

"Almost every seat in the dress circle, orches- 
tra and parquet was secured long before the 
doors of this theatre wore opened last night. 
Every available inch of standing room was occu- 
pied before the rising of the curtain, and the 
immense audiences assembled manifested their 
impatience to witness the wonderful Black Crook 
by exhibiting more excitement than on any occa- 
tion since the engagement of Forrest. At length 
the curtain rose on the first scene, represent- 
ing a valley at the foot of the Hartz Mo\intain3 
. . . .For a first performance the Black Crook 
went off admirably well last night. As every- 
one who has read the Nev; York papers was aware 
beforehand, the play as a literary production 
is rubblsh--as great as the Sheep's Foot — but 
it is nevertheless a magnificent spectacular 
piece. Miss Olivia Rand's singing was much ap- 
plauded, and the song of the Naughty Men gained 
an encore. Harry Edwards made the most of the 
part of the Black Crook. Mrs, Sophie Edwin ap- 
peared to great advantage both as Stalacta and 
in the March of the Amazons. Mrs.Judah as Dame 
Barbara was very amusing, and H. Sinclair's act- 
ing in the part of Don Puffenquintz was very 
comical, Harry Jackson caused roars of laughter 
by his Impersonation of the half^starved Greppo, 
and sang a song descriptive of Black Crook in 
fine comic style. Willie Edouin as Dragonfin, 
the monster, was the life of the piece;never was 
a more clever monster seen on the stage; he did 
everything but fly; his ground and lofty txun- 
bling vifould put to shame many a gymnast jhlsbioad- 
swoi'd combat, with two swords was perfect, and 
his contortions were the very essence of bur- 
lesque fun.... The Grotto of Stalacta is one of 
the most gorgeous scenes ever presented on the 
San Francisco stage. We mast complain of H. D. 
who did not do justice to the character of Zamiel. 
Of course, everyone intends to go to see the 
Black Crook . It has faults; as wo said before, 
the dialogue is often stupid and even ungraminat- 
. leal; some scenes drag a little — the Incanta- 
tion Scene for instance — and good as the first 
representation on the whole was, it loft room 
for improvements, which will doubtless bo made. 

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, or- ' •• ' .f./3S OW Si3 tSJIp-JBl :•-■.. ,,• ./.'"'' •■-;■■ 

Burlesque 85 

There are many pretty faces In the corps de 
ballet, and the display of legs is such that 
all tastes must be pleased whether they incline 
towards the substantial support of the gigantic 
elephant or the slender and graceful upholders 
of the slim and elegant crane. One member of 
the ballot was confessedly 'great,' and the 
roars of laughter which greeted her again and 
again, proved that she v/as a most prominent and 
observed personage . . . . " 

The following day, April 17,1867 the Daily Dramatic 

Chronicle completed its detailed observation: 

" The Black Crook drew another immense audience 
last night. Among the startling effects intro- 
duced in this play is one in the Incantation 
Scene where the torrent of real water at the 
back of the stage is suddenly turned into blood. 
...The Young California danseuses. Miss Rosa 
Siegrist and Miss Emma Miles, gained groat ap- 
plause for their pas de deux and performance 
generally. We cannot say much for the corps de 
ballet either as regards beauty or dancing. Of 
the former, there is but a sprinklins here and 
there; while as regards the latter (with few 
exceptions), we think that severe and frequent 
practice may make a change for the better. The 
Misses Corcoran seemed about the only ones at 
home,.., We would like to see all the corps de 
ballet with the same colored shoes on- -it looks 
more uniform^ we can't have the legs all the 
same size but common black outdoor boots don't 
look v/ell mixed up with the pretty scarlet ones 
that most of the corps wore. 

"We may have one more grumble before closing our 
notice, and that is the intorminablo length of 
the piece. It was a quarter to 12 when the 
curtain went down. The fourth act, the 
Amazons' March, is too long; in fact, tiresome, 
as there is nothing to relievo the sameness when 
the first impression is over.... Wo missed tho 
happy 'lovycrs' too, at tho closing scene. Tho 
'lovyors' certainly wcro wanting to make tho 
scene complete, in our humble opinion. Wo spent, 
however, a pleasant evening, and were highly 
pleased at tho entertainment, which reflects 
groat credit on tho getter s-up of it, and wo 
certainly shall take another opportunity of en- 
Joying it." 


■..I '^^--^^va^j^^^^-'"^'--^'^™ 


.■(IK'O .0. 

Burlesque 86 

The critic of the Daily Dramatic Chronicle was by 
this time evidently absorbed in the competitive productions of 
the Opera House and the Metropolitan. After writing at such 
great length about Maguire's efforts, he attended the final 
dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan, no doubt with great curi- 
osity. His report, April 20,1867 furnishes a very suggestive 
account of the Black Rook which was to edge the Black Crook 
completely out of the picture : 

" The Black Rook had its final rehearsal last 
night preparatory to its production on the 
Metropolitan boards this evening. We are fully 
justified in saying that it is the finest spec- 
tacular piece ever produced in San Francisco. 
The plot of the play is the same as that of the 
Bl ack Crook , as played at the Opera House, al- 
though there is a slight difference in the dia- 
logue, and the characters are differently named,, 
The ballet is immense--it is a wonder how the 
management got together so many handsome and 
shapely young girls j while the principal dan- 
seuses--the well known favorites of the Marti- 
netti troupe, fairly surpassed themselves in 
this piece. Their dances are new and difficult, 
and executed with remarkable grace and dexteri- 

"The scenery is entirely new, and of the most 
splendid description. Andrew Lehman, the artist, 
has never painted better, and he has long en- 
joyed the reputation of being one of the 
best scenic artists in the world. The stage 
decorations and paraphernalia are gorgeous and 
abundant. In the ballet scene in the first act, 
immense wreaths of roses are introduced with 
splendid effect in the groupings. In the incan- 
tation scene in the second act, a lofty water- 
fall, with real water is introduced; while at 
the close of the scene, after Hart stein, the 
Magician (Mr. Howson) has ratified his compact 
with Astaroff , the arch-fiend, there is a sud- 
den rush of demons, hideous reptiles, black 
rooks, phantom steeds with their riders, and 
other things ghastly and horrible, that make up 
a scene of awful weirdness and horror. 

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Burlesque 87 

"The Fairy Grotto is a scene of splendor with 
many surprising and beautiful transformations, 
among which is a broad lake, girt with rocky 
hills, which is changed to a misty cataract, 
through whose crystal waters, naiads are seen 
disporting themselves. The Grand March of the 
Amazons is another fine spectacle, presenting 
a display of finely shaped limbs never excelled 
on any stage. 

''The closing scene eclipses in magnificence any- 
thing hitherto produced on the San Francisco 
stage. It consists of a succession of wonder- 
ful effects which must bo seon to be appreciat- 
ed. Tho charm of the piece is heightened by 
the vocal music profusely introduced; Henri 
Herberte, the Misses Howson, Mr. Howson and Mr. 
Leach, each singing several songs as only they 
can sing. The fencing of Miss Parker, in the 
scene where Baron Wolfgang and the magician are 
overcome, was superb. All in all, the piece is 
cast upon the stage in a very superior manner 
....The ballet is under the direction of the 
Martinotti troupe who add to a long experience 
a refined and cultivated taste in matters of 
this kind." 

The Daily Dramatic Chronicle critic did not attend 
tho opening night of the Black Rook . Instead, ho made an un- 
dignified foray into the Olympic Theatre April 25, 1867 and, 
by way of complete coverage, reported the Olympic's burlesque 
of Burlesque, The Black Rook with a Crook . 

"No injunction was issued last night to prevent 
the public from crowding into every available 
inch of space of this cosy little theatre, and 
the great spectacle of the Black Rook With a 
Crook , which has been in preparation nine years 
and cost :>3,000,000 was produced in a style un- 
equaled by anything ever done in China or the 
Feejee Islands. No other theatre in this city 
outstrips in swelling proportions the beauti- 
fully formed Venuses that nightly disport them- 
selves in their vine and fig leaf paradise at 
the Olympic." 

■t-r . ..F. . 

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Burlesque 88 

April 29,1867 this same critic announced the demise 

of Maguire's production after a two-weeks' run: 

"It ( The Black Crook ) was put upon the stage 
in a splendid style and was admirably rendered, 
but the comparative weakness of the ballet pre- 
vented it from successfully competing with its 
rival around the corner." 

The life span of the Olympic production is nowhere 
described. But the Black Rook successfully kept its demonic 
paraphernalia in the public eye until the latter part of May. 
The lack of structure in the new leg show burlesque was in- 
dicated by the flexibility of the program; acts were deleted 
and others added. There is, for instance, the announcement 
May 15, that six ladies in a crystal grove would further en- 
hance the production. From point of view of attack, the en- 
chanted hypocrites in town came to point of view of defense. 
Leg visibility became pure and beautiful. The repressed di- 
mensions of a tightly laced front line, kicking up many lay- 
ered flounces, became cold, and classic The Bulletin for 
May 2,1867 wipes itself clean of any reservation whatsoever: 

"The beautiful spectacle of the Black Rook con- 
tinues to draw large and fashionable audiences. 
There is nothing to which the most fastidious 
can object. The scenery is gorgeous, the bal- 
let charming, and the music fine..." 

The last conspicuous notice the black humpbacked 

sorcerer received in the local press had to do with some \in- 

planned action on the last Saturday night of the run at the 

Metropolitan. The backdrop for the Chaos scene was already 


-ni -e£w > ewps-QlTyof :;.'«!0rle- ,spX w&n Oii*. nl e.^u-j 

:tn3W©onuorsns eAi- •-■•-; - 
-lie leridtiJjT". 6X00/. 

"HO •arid' •tOS^OBd'C^S lu .;..l.; y ■ 

.©an©!:'.- ';• --riv lo ?f-^i:s)q o-' 
-\&L XCiBBi.- ^'- '■ :xi.I. . 

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: ©ofsad 

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.T- 's:o'3:.-,s;o'iL';;- 

Burlesque 89 

in place and the audience had evinced the usual gasping ap- 
proval of the wreck-of -worlds mwa^al. Behind this backdrop, 
a stagehand was hastily adjusting one of the gauze hangings 
for the final scene when the gauze flamed up from contact 
with a top border light. The "fly man" instantly cut the 
rope which suspended the gauze and let it drop on the stage, 
a heap of flaring textxire. Quickly, the Chaos scene was 
lifted forward away from the fire and the audience beheld the 
real chaos which threatened. There was the inevitable panic. 
The Daily Dramatic Chronicle for May 13 clarified the pic- 
ture to the quality of an early American engraving: 

"A rush was made for the doors; men shouted 
'fire'; and women screamed and fainted; 'keep 
yovir shirts' cried out several cool men, while 
the Prince of Jokers, Charley Schultz, the 
leader of the orchestra struck up his celebrat- 
ed 'Firemen's March,' never letting his orches- 
tra stop playing for an instant during contin- 
uance of the excitement. As the fire was soon 
trampled out, and the stage manager came for- 
ward to assure the audience that there was no 
danger, the stampede was stopped, and the audi- 
ence remained standing until the conclusion of 
the piece. Mens. Gruet, who held the rope 
sustaining the car upon which Paul Martinetti, 
as Neptune, descends to the center of the 
stage, had his hands badly burned by the fric- 
tion of the rope while rapidly lowering Paul to 
the stage, he being endangered by the burning 
gauze. The arch little Clelia Howson went into 
a corner and quietly swooned away. One lady in 
trying to get out had nearly the whole skirt of 
her dress torn off. Great credit is due those 
in charge of the stage for the cool and prompt 
manner in which they extinguished the fire." 

For the time being the curtains of the three the- 
atres were drawn down upon this bat-winged abracadabra in a 
paste jewelry setting. But the trend of burlesque had been 

i. • • • ■ ■ 

... • ' ■ • *•- V7''* 

iJb'lB'f,;. tilw III 

Jea V' 

Burlesque 90 

set. EllSe Holt, the Zavistowskl sisters, the Worrell sis- 
ters, the Gougenhelm sisters, Lydla Thompson and her British 
Blondes, now had clear sailing. The Influx of these pulchri- 
tudinous kick-girls reached its height in 1870, and 1867 to 
1870 vms a marked period of decay for the old legitimate 
theatre, and of ascendancy for the melodeons. 

The events of the 1867-68 season all pointed toward 
the trivunphant march of tho flesh- colored tights. The book- 
ings of the improsarlos brought a variety of entertainment to 
town, most of which quickly foil into the red and oblivion. 
The public had seen the Crook, Rook, and Cook variations on 
the new theme and a criterion had been established. The few 
successes were revelatory. A troupe of Japanese jugglers 
was in great favor. And there were Harry Leslie and Harry 
Raynor, minstrels at the Olympic. A men-only show still pre- 
vailed there,* but the excited reports the male audience com- 
municated to tho women in town stimulated a female clamor 
which netted a contract at the "respectable" Metropolitan for 
the talented minstrels. Apparently inexhaustible, the Mar- 
tinottis played in all tho theatres in townj tho gay symbolo- 
gy of their acrobatic pantomime was the most consistently 
popular entertainment of the docado. 

In August 1867 Maguire sold his Academy of Music 
to Goodwin and Company. Hereafter the building was to be 
used as a furniture store. It was like the first confessed 

ri-.' err '-■:*.- *T;v.-7lcoP- ^■"•".- ,.-jQo;?.-'t"5loc'iOvc5il:f rroor. •/>ari-o4:XQjJ'q'':9;d'L^ 
wpI • .■, ,;e.r f"-';"' ■ '" ^v*^.:?" A-iod'^E'xo •/: £)n/3: orriQrid' wen efi.t 

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-ywv i.ii;4s-.-vforffi .--^Ino-nei'i r^'-. i'. • ' ■-:: ^ ■ •^•'•■? 'ilei.da,tiitt-..;;'xqn'n;j3fi 

-'."'•'i^roortQ-i-DtjS'elatrf odd- •:::• c;.-j:c :■ -♦ 5vr' • ii. oto.f*.t boXlBV 

toria^Io •-?lP'S0'i:.ii ■.■i-cjBJ.'i.''^t . •" ■ ' '.oi iyeJff.oltium 

•■•;.■:■■- ;ri:':; •: j;' . ■ . ■•j'' •'. Mas;... .. ,:M .■ T'dS:J ,\ 

Burlesque 91 

twinge of old age in Maguire, still the top Impresario in 
town. Indicative of the times was the sale of the seats in 
the Academy to Samuel Tetlow, proprietor of the Bella Union 
Melodeon. The gradual approach of the "big theatre" enter- 
tainment to melodeon burlesque was automatically lifting the 
stigma of immorality from the latter. The molodeons were 
coming into their own^ the heads of the big theatres were 

Two extraordinary examples of the new realism 
were the only high spots of the legitimate drama from 1867 to 
1870, There was Under the Gaslight by the American, Daly; and 
After Dark, a Tale of London Life , by the Irishman, Bouci- 
cault. The English play was apparently little more than the 
American play in a London setting. The production of these 
plays in San Francisco ( Under the Gaslight at the Metropoli- 
tan; and After Dark at the Opera House) were inevitably echoed 
by burlesque versions at the Alhambra and the Olympic. De- 
tails of the burlesque versions are scant as usual. The re- 
view of Under the Gaslight , in the Bulletin for November 25, 
1867, will give an idea what vulnerable hold this drama of- 
fered to a troupe of clever burlosqviers : 

"Charles Daly's famous drama of Under the Gas - 
light was produced, and in a manner that sur- 
prisod as well as delighted all who were pres- 
ent. We cannot speak in too high praise of the 
liberality of the lessees and the skill of the 
artists. No pains or oxpcnso have boon spared 
in putting the piece on the stage in the most 
attractive and telling manner. The scenery is 
all now and much of it is exceedingly beautiful. 

.030.W Encoj&olom ofiT .*>j ;iiO- -xortpal 'Jo , 


.^iaiJIsoa won ori^ ,lo c.c,iv . . . - 

,oi VS8X jxroixl .9mB.1l> o.:ti::mx^ii^y*. oxi;; -io ..>i^o 

,exid nj^rfcf ©'iQ.ffi .elit^-i.r VjIc^neiBCiCiij m^" v ■ 
©.s..oricf lo xioi.^Oi;fioiq ' ^niWou no 

__- i ^Ai i .■:li:._s2:-t/2^-- " ■ - -■ A-*- '•^\--. . 


Burlesque 92 

Many of the mechanical effects are equal to any- 
thing produced here or elsewhere. The view of 
New York at night — with the hay and the rivers, 
the ships and wharves, the Jersey City ferry- 
boats plying to and fro, the ships lying at an- 
chor and the smaller craft under sail- -is sin* 
gularly vivid and lifelike. So is that of the 
Tomhs, interiorly and exteriorly. But the 
crowning moclianical triumph of the piece is the 
signal station on the railroad, with the night 
express thundering past under full speed, the 
engine puffing and shrieking, the sparks fly- 
ing and the smoke rolling in a sooty trail be- 

"Of the drama itself there is not a great deal 
to be said. As a literary performance it is 
not of very high order. With two or three ex- 
ceptions the characters have little individual- 
ity, and the dialogue is not remarkable for v/it 
or sprightliness. . . .It groups together in a 
very felicitous manner, the two extremes of 
society, presenting us at once with the 
splendors yet meanness (?) of wealth, and the 
degradation of crime and miseries of common 
poverty. In Trafford vie have the amiability, 
irresolution and moral cowardice of 'our best 
society'; in Laura Courtland we have beauty 
and angelic virtue rising superior to the 
frowns of fortune, the neglect of fair-weather 
friends and tho temptations of poverty j in 
Byke and the old hag Judas wc have incar- 
nated tho frightful depravity that rots and 
festers in the heart of a groat city. The 
coarsest elements of social life are happily 
(?) represented by the slattern 'Peach Blos- 
som,' so admirably played by Mrs, Saunders, the 
red- skirted ballad- vendor and the boxer, and 
the ragged news and peanut vendors. Indeed, all 
the odds and ends--tho rag-tag and bob-tail of 
the social masquerade --are grouped together in 
Mr, Daly's clever tableaux and made to show off 
their most salient points, 

"As played on Saturday evening the piece was too 
long. Three hours and a half is too much for 
human endurance. .. .There is, moreover, a good 
deal of redvindant dialogue which the audience 
can well dispense v/lth..,." 

-nfi iff . ■■ ., ■ 

i-'iO CJJv- 

Si. civ aji:'' , 

■"to ed.ri;-..:vfeo 

t j •^'faiii* ):.'.fj^Ci ;T"fE"t.o Sri'T ' 
fd-- .'.•.. .. 'is^-j'^ro rigirl Y'fS"*' • 

. ■ :!'0 t 'Id' 

- -■_■ i',Ci -J •'•'.■ ^' ■■ 
hi- ^iSJO vCi.M -.)]ri(i O- 


Burlesque 93 

An interesting financial account of the first 

week's run of Under the Gaslight was published in the 

Bulletin for December 9, 1867: 

"Edwards, Bates, and Vinson, the new lessees 
of the Metropolitan Theatre, have returned to 
the Revenue Department the following sums as 
the receipts of seven nights' performance of 
Undor the Gaslight ; November 23, :.^1 035 j Novem- 
ber" ^sT'^'^S^TTB^November 26, ;;;a81.25; November 
27, .^370. 50 J November 28, ;ii>1558.75; November 
29, Hpa93-.50; November 50, :3)1448.50; total, 
;ii7622.25. The return of this for this week is 
without; precedent, and the sum taken on 
Thank.^giving Day was the largest ever kncwn 
in the theatre in this city at present prices. 
We understand that Mr.Whoatloigh remits by this 
steamer ^AOOO to Augustin Daly of New York, as 
the author's share of the profits for a little 
over a fortnight of the remarkably sensational 

All that is salvaged from that distant time as to 
the Olyropic's burlesque version of Undor the Gaslight , is the 
suggestive title: Under the Cairo-soon Lamp Post . 

Boucicault's After Dark opened early in the 1868- 
69 season. The English play immediately came in for a rigor- 
ous comparison with its .'American progenitor. 

"The drama After Dark is a pictvire of the 
night side of London life, as Under the Gas - 
light and the Lottery of Life were pictures of 
the night side of New York. . . .Prom the Gaslight 
he (Boucicault) has taken the pier and railroad 
scenes, and from the Lottery of Life the music 
saloon scene. The under side of the dilapidated 
stone bridge of Blackfriars, supported on piles 
and timber framing (crutches) as it has been 
for many a year, is made the abode of thieves 
and vagabonds as the under side of the Boston 
pier was, and while in the original drama the 
pier was the scene of the abduction and an at- 
tempt to mxirder, in the other the bridge is the 
scene of an attempt at suicide by the heroine. 

-.-••; ^.EsTi 

br^ ■■ « jfr- 




^ s.^Ict ti' 

Burlesque 94 

...The Magnolia Saloon of Brougham's play was 
full of life, and familiar in every feature to 
an American audience. The more staid manners 
and appointments of the London music saloon in 
After Dark could not be expected in this coun- 
try to create the same enthusiasm. The absence 
of pretty waiter girls, with thoir paint and 
curls, their airs and blandisliments, is very 
noticeable. The song from the saloon stage is 
an ordinary London comic ditty, and gives the 
performer no such scope as Melville had in a 
similar part. It wants the novelty and rollick- 
somoness, both in tune and words of 'Coal Oil 
Tommy. ' 

"The railroad scene lacks many of the elements 
which aided in working up the audience to that 
unprocedontcd pitch of excitement which 
attended every roprosontatlon of the night ex- 
press train passing Shrewsbury Bond station 
from the first to tlio last. In the first place, 
the man who has boon doomed to perish lies like 
a log on the track, if not dead, insensible. 
Except that the audience see him to be in dan- 
ger, he contributes nothing to the interest of 
the scene. There are not those alternate emo- 
tions, the struggle for life, followed by self- 
abnegation, there are no manifestations of hero- 
ism in the bound man, as in the case of the 
doomed 'Snorkey.' The scene is defective also 
in that it has no preliminary business, during 
which the audience, as in the Gaslight , witness 
the daily routine of a roadside s^tion, and 
become familiarized vrith the idea that they are 
standing beside a railroad line.... 

"George Edwards, a new face in the company, 
dressed and sang his character song, 'The 
Provident Mud Lark,' in good stylo, and it was 
unfortunate for him that some of the good ef- 
fect of his efforts were marred by the per- 
sistent shouting of the gods for the raising 
of the 'rag' as they call the border when it 
intercepts thoir viev;. . . . "* 

The burlesque version of After Dark received three 

notices in the press. Johnny Mack, quite famous at this time 

for his burlesques of current plays, opened his show at the 

Now Alhambra. 

* Bulletin . November 17, 1858. 



'i- bH onnfihl-r RA?'/ •• / 

9r'': I'if f 

i.ofrf'. ■ 

osii ixf worfe- s 


Burlesque 95 

"The announcement oi'' the performance of Johnny 
Mack's "burlesque, After Dark , drew a crowded 
house. The piece is amusing, and cleverly trav- 
esties some of the more striking scenes in the 
original drama. The arrest of the locomotive 
by 'Pointer,' the policeman, (Johnny Mack) and 
his exposition of how the thing was done elicit- 
ed much applause. In fact the audience were 
amused from first to last and went home in the 
best of humor. ''^ 

"Exquisite dances by Sands and Ashcroft,a jolly 
medley by Miss Olivia Rand, graceful gymnastics 
by Leon Samuels, a sentimental ballad by Master 
Pvilton, comic acts by Lew Rattler, Johnny Mack, 
George Coos, De Angelis and the rest of the sa- 
ble brotherhood with the new travesty, After 
Dar'c Dro up-;at to Li gilt will constitute ?Ee 
■pr6'{']ViiLr: tonight."-'^* 

"The burlesque en After Dar k does not follow the 
original very closely, but the travesties of 
tho rescue scene at the bridge, the gambling 
room in the Music Hall, and the railroad sensa- 
tion. Tho last is done very well. Johnny Mack, 
as Pinter, (sic) the policeman, arrests the lo- 
comotive, and exposes the manner of running the 
train across the stage by pulling out the stage 
carpenter from behind the painted canvas. 

"The policeman is made the principal character 
in the travesty, and, he succeeds in bringing 
down the house by a satire on the efficiency, 
and boldness of the gentlemen of the baton. "'^'** 

Johnny Mack directed a long and successful season 
of burlesque and variety programs at the Alhambra. Gradually 
it became as proper a thing to attend one of Mack's riotous 
satires as to sit through the smug prototype at the Metro- 
politan or the Opera House. The shift of public taste was 
obvious. Several new burlesque houses wore opened. The 

* Bulletin , December 4, 1868. 

^H ^Daily Alta California , December 3, 1868. 

-5HHtIbid. December 4, 1868. 

I)©.5woio ' B weiJb 

©iiCt til 




©lew 9- . ^JOBl'Sil , i)S 

•f^-. A . C If- 

•T' orr+< .. j5 wiiJXio on..: 

'•■-oi ori'l ed'eDiT,. 

8881 ,C "IOC 

Burlesque 96 

Bella Union was extravagantly remodeled. Even the new Cal- 
ifornia Theatre (opened January 18, 1869), last successful 
outpost of the legitimate stock companies in San Francisco, 
admitted a burlesque program by Lotta Crabtree and V/illie 
Edouin to its boards. In March 1869, Maguire brought 
Johnny Mack and some able assistants to the Opera House in a 
program of travesty and song-and-dance. The cancan craze 
finally and loudly laid low any attempt at classical or con- 
temporary dratna. Burlesque, with ancillary bill of variety, 
was at last intrenched in the sacred halls built for stento- 
rian tragedy. Before the year was out, Eltae Holt would 
flame upward as the first glamor girl of burlesque. The only 
constant, alv;ays perceptible, never tarnished thread of enter- 
tainment throughout the whole decade of fluctuating taste had 
been the Martinettis. Despite the triximph of leg show bur- 
lesque, the Martinettis appeared throughout the city dtiring 
1869, always to packed houses and spontaneous critical ac- 
claim. It is time to give a backward glance of analysis to 
the extraordinary charm of these satirical pantomimists. 


The nineteenth century made it painfully clear that 
the tradition of the literary theatre was decadent. The am- 
bitious new compositions of "high" tragedy were quickly clos- 
eted as drama to be read in stuffy, Victorian solitude. The 
great, creative intensity of the Coimnedia dell 'Arte had been 
given a permanent form by Moliere,batiiie Commedia dell 'Arte 

Xi/taaeooi/c cf'/ • ^ ■;' • • -' v.-'::.';:': : i , >x 

"HOd 10 XjSQJtaejalo 6sk ■JcrjQ:f:ir^. .':.ifil Y-£/jwoI i^rt^i X-^.tiiif.f:'i 

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fj.iTjJ lleb jQ.ri->r3:.: \-z:;\i>'i?ii;XoI?i 7"'.: '"'cc-'i .•Jftafuscne ' 'Xr 

Burlesque 97 

itself had soon thereafter been circumscribed by the advent 
of a bourgeoisie not inclined to art patronage. There was 
very little left for the nineteenth century — neither a lit- 
erary nor a popular tradition. The great service of the laelo- 
deons of San Francisco and Nev/ York, and of the music halls 
of London was their somewhat unconscious use of the actor's 
art of ijnproviaationj in a crude from, the vitality of the 
old Italian, realism and satire, survived. The value of the 
pantomime troupes such as the Ravel family, and their succes- 
sors, the Martinettis, lay in their conscious use of Coramedia 
dell 'Arte technique. Not that the critical genius of the 
renaissance comedians was approached; but that the framework 
of a highly artistic, popular theatre had been refurbished 
for further use. 

There is plenty of superficial evidence. After ten 
years of activity in San Francisco playhouses, Julien Martin- 
etti, in all press notices, was automatically spoken of as the 
Clown; Philippe Martinetti as Pantaloon; Paul Martinetti as 
Harlequin; and Madam Desire'e Martinetti as Columbine. It is 
remembered that the actors of the Oommedia dell 'Arte troupes 
finally became identified personally with the roles which 
they played consistently throughout their lifetime. The jug- 
glery and acrobatics are also present. A saltimbanque of the 
I Gelosi troupe, for instance, performing some Incredible 
contortion on the outdoor stage of the troupe in Bologna in 
the sixteenth century, and one of the Martinettis performing 

cfnevbfl eric; , .,_;.,.. x,, ../oil- ■-'•'■--'"•• "'^•--" -.-.^■^ bsAlia^r: 
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3''xo;:fojs &r'^ "^ — i; B-troioenon-m^- iflrfwer ' - ^-^d" saw noinoJ lo 
eiH 'Xo ■■ oxid- t/iioil obmo b fi^ .» .^.j\selv<yiqfrl lo its, 

-.;. -^ ... .bavlvii^ «3il;:fj3e bho .tibIXboi ,nBiIja-' 
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C'ii.7 lo ei/irtes iBoJtiiio etii :}Bdi ioM ' .ei,^''- ' ' ;^ >•'--.-. 

JbeilB Mix/lei Koocf ijeri eij^/- 

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:oiq oeXB »*rjB eoi;Jccfoio:* bct£ Y^eXg 


Burlesque 9S 

a comical trick on a trapeze at the Metropolitan theatre in 
San Francisco in 1869, are in continuous tradition. 

The broad, angular gesture of stylized pantomime 
is more evidence of continuity. There is record of the famous 
sixteenth-century actor, Scaramouche, who could keep his 
audience constantly delighted for fifteen minutes while he 
sat in a chair giving comical evidence of terror at the ap- 
proach of an enemy from the rearj while in 1867, Julien 
Mar tine tti could be regarded by the Bulletin of March 1, as 
"the best comic artist who ever visited this coast," and 
Julien had rarely or never appeared in any of the speaking 
parts of the Martinetti shows. 

Within this traditional framework, the nineteenth- 
century pantonimists developed their own kind of show. Ballet 
was added. The simple, straight-hitting satire of the Ital- 
ian realists was now filtered through the fantastic facade 
indicated by some of the titles of the Martinetti pantomimes: 
The Green Monster , The, Golden Bgg , The Red Gnome , Jack and 
Jill . But these fantasies were not of the deadly, Greek-Eng- 
lish variety used in so many burlesques of the time; they had 
the imaginative liveliness of genuine fairy talo. Acrobatic 
display had by this time developed into a large part of pan- 
tomimic entertainment. And there was more and more exploi- 
tation of trick staging; but where trick staging in regular 
burlesque v/as to be used for the overwhelming and grandiose 

■■q£ OAi .■^*- "ipr.rxp^ ?, eoiiiotive XscjiiTic-o ^rilvi^ ■ataxic s n-i: ;t-Be 

e>,b30i5l o.J::^aBJrusi i)„'i{'. i^f/Didi ij€5'.'''^r-£ii.l '-wn esw BisiXBei ftJ3.t 

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"Xo- .,:/^ .H,ev7.\ . bnXA'orf' 

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Burlesque 99 

effect, in pantomime it was used for small bits of exciting, 
"s\irrealistic" business. In this regard, the Bulletin for 
December 11, 1866 has the following to say about a perform- 
ance of The Golden Egfi at the Metropolitan: 

"The glamour of enchantment seemed to per- 
vade everything and everybody. The stage and 
those who walked it appeared possessed; chairs 
and tables moved off on the slightest provoca- 
tion; beds and bedding took themselves wings; 
shop signs became suddenly Inverted or fo\ind 
themselves transferred to opposite sides of the 
street; men and women were whisked through the 
air, and appeared and disappeared in the most 
tantalizing manner; the most uncouth monsters, 
gigantic geese, deformed donkeys, toads, gob- 
lins, played fantastic tricks and ass\amed the 
most protean shapes...." 

The J-Iartinettis , like their famous teachers, the 

Ravels, hailed from Paris. Early in the nineteenth century, 

the Ravels had given definite, new lusture to the obscured 

pantomimic art. A clear signing av;ay of vitality had occurred 

in the late 1700s: Riccoboni's company of actors, last 

of the famous Italian troupes to be licensed to the French 

court, addressed an illuminating request to a high official: 

"The actors entreat your Highness to make 
urgent representations at the Court that they 
may be permitted, as in Italy, the free use of 
the Holy Sacrament, the more so as they will 
never recite anything scandalous; and Riccoboni 
undertakes to submit the scenarios of the plays 
for examination by the Minister and also by an 
Ecclesiastic, for their approval,"* 

* Quoted by Sheldon Cheney in The Theatre .Three Thousand 
Years of Drama, Acting and Stagecraft p. 240 

^Sriictloxo -lo zil-. 

TtlrriocJiiBq i;. i.'l9 

•-■•'r .A-W3J?I5ix' 

' . 

'.sse-.^cV-' ''?f^-*'--'^':rxr-« 

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yM t- 


9rl:f s.-. ' 

J C - -,Tr -- 

?]pij ■;<->■(? 

! f.".'-. , \ .1 rr 

Burlesque 100 

Unfortunately there ia no material available to in- 
dicate the likely family connections of the Ravels and Mar- 
tinettis with these last Coramedia dell' Arte actors in Paris. 
No doubt there were parental threads which transmitted the 
art of broad gesture and brief speech through the bourgeois 
revolutions, through the shift from coiirt patronage to com- 
mercial theatre. At any rate, there was no large lapse of 
time between the disappearance of the Commedia dell' Arte in 
Europe and the appearance of ninoteenth-century pantomime. 

Once beforo, in the 1850s, the Martinettls had ap- 
peared in San Francisco under the leadership of their aging 
tutor, Gabriel Ravel. Now, in December of 1860, they returned 
in their ov/n right as the Martinettl Troupe. A delighted 
public kept them in town for a forty-five night engagement, 
which v/as unusual for San Francisco not only at that time but 
even today. The press admitted the excellence of the per- 
formances, but tliroughout their first engagement the critics 
held on to a few dutiful reservations. As the decade pro- 
ceeded and the perennial freshness of the Martinetti engage- 
ments was established, the critics followed the public into 
complete approval of the French family's extraordinary enter- 
tainment • 

Little can bo done to reconstruct a com.plete pic- 
ture of a Martinetti program, A good part of their "business" 
was sheer gesture. The few spoken parts have not been set 
down in any permanent form. The eyes of the contemporary 


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Biarlesque 101 

press must furnish 'ivhatever vision can be had of this troupe 

in action: 

Bulletin for December 4, 1860 j 
"The Martinettl troupe continue to attract 
crov/ds every night. Their performances are 
very pleasing, and in the case of the tight- 
rope 'evolutions,' perhaps wonderful. The 
brothers Mar tine tti and Master Paul give an in- 
genious exhibition on what n;ay be called a dou- 
ble story tight-rope, that is the t^vo elders, 
while at a distance from each other, on the 
rope, support around their necks a rail, on 
which the boy mounts and goes through sundry 
antics, corresponding in time and sympathy with 
those of his bearers, all three being provided 
with balsjioing poles. The feats cf Miss Chiarini, 
with a hoop and 7/ithout a pole, the quick step 
of Mr. Chiarini and the tremendous leaps and 
somersaults of Mr, Leliman are likewise worth a 
passing notice ♦ The dances of the principal 
members of the troupe, and the corps de ballet 
are prettily arranged and well executed, with- 
out being at all extraordinary. The drolleries 
of Julien Mar tine tti, as the 'I'iO.iite Knight' in 
the pantomime of the Green Ptonster , excite much 
mirth, in young and old. . . ," 

Bulletin for December 21, 1860: 
''Tomorrow, a grand afternoon performance will be 
given at 2 o'clock, for the special benefit of 
children and faaiilies, when new evolutions on 
the tight-rops, a ballot divertissement and the 
grand pantomime of Jocko, or the Brazilian Ape , 
will be presented. Master Paul, as ' Jocko' is 
particularly excellent and amusing." 

Bulletin for January 10, 1831: 

"In the pantomime ( The Rod Gnome ), Mr. Lehman 
is very effective as the 'Gnome.' Much serio- 
comic use is made in this piece of a hidoous 
character representing a skeleton, which offends 
against good taste. The figure has a peculiar 
hitch, or palsied dropping of the side when it 
v/alks, YiThich will be apt to haunt the memory of 
the nervous." 

Bulletin for March 6, 1861: 

"The latest pantomime, The Magic Pills , passed 

off successfully last night, and was received 

• .1 

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Burlesque 102 

with much laughter and applause. Some of the 
scenes are very amusing, (though not quite new) 
such as that of the medium-sized and the little 
and the great landladies. The program, too Is 
remarkably managed by 'Master Paul,' no doubt. 
The piece will be repeated this evening, to- 
gether with ballet of Le Diable V Quatre ." 

The acrobatic flourish of a precarious ascent on a 
rope often closed the performances. Tho Bulletin for April 
8, April 16, and April 20 announces three of the spectacular 
ascensions of the Martinetti troupe during their spring en- 
gagement in 1861: 

"A 'grand ascension' on two ropes, by Philipiie 
and Julien Martinetti with Mile, Desire'e, will 
close the entertainment." 

"A grand ascension, by Julien Martinetti, who 
will walk on a single rope, with his head and 
body in a bag," 

"The whole v/111 conclude with a terrific 
ascension on a single rope, by Miss Chiarini 
and Mr. Chiarini, Mr, Chiarini carrying a man 
on his shoulders," 

The Bulletin for April 24,1861 announced the elab- 
orate plans of the troupe for their toxir v/ithin the state and 
up the coast: 

"The Martinetti Troupe have prepared a large and 
handsome tent, with a movable stage and suit- 
able scenery and apparatus, v/ith which they 
plan to travel all over this State and Oregon, 
and perhaps go as far north as the British Pos- 

"Before leaving for the interior they will give 
four performances in this city, within the tent, 
which will be erected on the large vacant lot 
adjoining the International Hotel on Jackson 
Street. This tent will hold 1,000 persons, and 
the interior, including the stage, scenery and 
properties, v;ill be of a comfortable and at- 
tractive character,..." 

S'OX ftvpeeJ 

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Burlesque 103 

The critic of the Bulletin was not particularly 

happy about the Martinettl experiment with a tent. He wrote 

on April 27, 1861: 

"A niAmeroua attendance was present in the Mar- 
tinettl Pavilion, last night, when the first 
public performance vms given within it by the 
gymnast and ballet troupo who had so long held 
possession of the Opera House. The Pavilion ' 
is a very neat structure of the kind, and 
everything is managed as well as could be ex- 
pected in such a place. Yet it is but a tent 
after all, where the feet rest on sawdust and 
darrp earth, and the air is filled with tobacco 
smoLe. In such a den, posturing and horse-drama 
are at home; but not the so-called High Art of 
French ballet-dancing, at least, after having 
been so long used to it in a comfortable and 
beautiful theatre. However, there is a magic 
in sawdust for many people. There will be a 
performance this evening." 

On November 22, 1866 an announcement on the front 
page of the Bulletin establishes the retvirn of the Marti- 
nettis from a long engagement in the East. The v±iolo com- 
pany is listed, 

Martlnetti Ravel Troupe I 
From Niblo's Garden, New York. 

In Order to Make the Performance Complete, the 
Management Have Engaged the Howson Opera Troupe. 

Messrs. Jullen and Philippe Martlnetti, Direc- 
tors of the company and principal Com-ic Ar- 

Madame Marzotti, Premiere Danseuse. 

Madame Desiree Mathew, Premiere Danseuse, Deml- 

Mile.. Julie^ Lehman, Mime et Danseuse, 
Madame Therese Schmidt, Danseuse, 
Madame Julie Martlnetti, Madame Lehman and 

Madame Greuet Buislay, Coryphees. 

^^i esjptoituQ 

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Burlesque 2.04 

Twelve Ladies of the Ballet. 

M, Paul Martinetti, Harlequin and Premier 

M, Greuet Buislay, Professor of Gymnastics. 
M. Lehman, Scenic Artist and Pantomimist. 
M, August Lehman, Pole Marque, Master Albert 

and Le Petit Ignacio. 

The troupe called forth a great deal of enthusiasm 

in the Bulletin the following day. April 23, 1867: 

"This house (the Metropolitan Theatre) was 
crowded to overflowing last night to witness 
the first performance of the Martinetti Troupe, 
All the sitting and most of the standing room 
was occupied, and many went av/ay unable to gain 
admittance. The gallery gods were out in their 
strength, and reveled between the piece in a 
deafening chorus of shrieks, yells, laughter, 
and whistling,,., The ballet of The Contraban' - 
dista introduced the Mar tine ttis. The audience 
recognised their old favorites in the troupe 
with enthusiastic shouts. The piece is entirely 
pantomime v/ith only one ballet scene. The 
pantorairae was admirable. Philippe Martinetti 
as the smuggler chief and Julien Martinetti aa 
the comical 'Plpi' were particularly good. The 
latter kept the audience in a roar of laughter, 
Mesdaraes Mathieu, Marzetti, and Lehman were ex- 
cellent in pantomime and ballet. The tableaux 
in the last scene v;ere strikingly effective. 
The concluding performance was The Green Mon - 
ster , rendered famous by the RaveTsI With the 
exception of one or two hitches in the machin- 
ery, which can be avoided on another represen- 
tation, the amusing transformations, magical 
tricks, and scenic display, which make up the 
chief merits of the piece, were done as well 
as we ever sav/ them. The tournament tableau 
and the scene of the combat afterwards were 
capital, Julien Martinetti, as the 'V^'hite 
Knight' was vastly funny, and Paul Martinetti, 
as the Harlequin v/as lithe and graceful. The 
sword play between these two was quite bril- 
liant in its way. Philippe Martinetti as 
•Chevalier G. Grand' was superb, and his solo 
on the ophicleide was full of expression. 
Julien' s affectation of the Carnival of Venice 
on the Bass viol was a nice touch of the comic. 
The effect of the performances throughout was 
largely assisted by the excellent orchestration, 
under IVlr. Schultz." 

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Burlesque 105 

A month later the Martlnettis were undisputed 

"tops" in the town's entertainment; 

Bulletin for December 1, 1866: 

"Despite the unpropitious weather, the Marti- 
net ti Troupe were greeted by a largo and 
fashionable house last evening. Vie cannot say 
much in favor of the vaudeville by the Howson 

"The divertissement entitled Le Diable k Quatre 
was so good that we wished it wore twice as 
long. The ballet was in admirable training, 
the dancing excellent, and the general effect 
pleasing. The pantomime entitled Mons. Dechal - 
ameau , with v^ich tho performance was concluded, 
was exquisitely amusing. The piece is one of 
the best of its class, abounding in the drollest 
situations and the most lau.ghable incidents. 
Julien Martinet ti as the blundering servant, a 
sort of French 'Handy Andy' proved himself to 
be a master of his art, and kept the audience 
in perpet\;al roars of laughter." 

After a very successful run of the pantomime The 
Golden Egg (see page 101 for press quotation), the Martl- 
nettis continued their upward curve of success with The Con - 
trabandist ; 

Bxilletin for December 24, 1866: 
"The beautiful ballet of the Contrabandist , by 
far the best yet presented by the Martlnettis, 
pleased everyone . 

" Jocko v/as a success. Paul Martinettl was a 
most amusing ape--lf wo can apply that terra to 
a creature that would have puzzled Buffon and 
Cuvler to have classified. Jocko in truth bore 
more resemblance to what might have been tho 
lost link between the simae and man than any 
known animal, but his principal object being to 
make ftin, which he did most delightfully — he 
satisfied his audience. The pantomime is well 
acted throughout, and is one of the most at- 
tractive performances of the troupe,,.." 



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Burlesque 106 

Another new piece received as imich attention as 

The Contrabandist : 

Bulletin for January 7, 1867: 

" Mazulirf was repeated on Saturday afternoon and 
evening— some delays when the graveyard is 
changed into a ball-room. The latter piece is 
apt to retain a lingering flavor of mortality, 
and some of the tombstones don't know exactly 
when to disappear. The 'fair' is cleverly rep- 
resented and throughout the pantomime, comic 
element is strong. Burlesque incidents and 
ludicrous situations succeed each other rapidly 
and render I^tazulm fully as popular as its 
predecessors. • . ." 

On January 18, 1867, the Bulletin made a few 

generalizations : 

"The Martinettis are not only clever artists 
but shrewd managers. They Imow with almost un- 
erring instinct ivhat the public wants and in 
vrhat shape they prefer to have it served. Their 
pantomime and lighter pieces have been uniform- 
ly successful because they v/ere artistically 
gotten up, pleasing to the eye and ear and not 
tediously long. Tonight they produce a fresh 
novelty, entitled Italian Brigands , consisting 
of a series of ill\irainated Tableaux, in which 
the principal members of the troupe will 
appear, with new music, costumes, etc. The 
pleasing dramatic ballet will bo given." 

By February 1, several other "fresh" novelties had 

been displayed and with the same infallible appeal. On this 

date, the Bulletin is reporting the second performance of 

La Vivandiere : 

"The ballet of La Vivandi'ere delighted all; the 
flying trapeze act' by Paul Martinetti was as 
daring as it v/as graceful. Soldie r s for LQve 
'brought down the house.' Philippe Martinetti, 
who is equxilly happy in comic and serious parts 
was very funny as the 'thick-witted Jobard'j 
v;hile Julien Martinetti acted the 'Jailer' ex- 
ceedingly well. Paul Martinetti made a very 

,r •-.>.- r,- -rC 


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Burlesque 107 

enticing young lover, but v/e would have liked 
him better if he had not made quite so serious 
a business of it...," 

Following 1867, the longest return engagement of 
the Martinet tis occurred in 1369. On June 21, 1869 the Bulle - 
tin announced; 

"Tonight Johnny Mack's new spectacular local 
extravaganza. Little Boy Blue will be pro- 
duced, with Miss Sue Robinson and Paul Mar- 
tinetti superadded." 

The rest of the Martinettis were evidently not in 
the show, but the account of the opening night, in the Bulle - 
tin for June 22, has a good deal to say about the art of 
pantomime as practiced by the French Troupe: 

"The great feature of the place (Maguire's 
Opera House) last night,., was the new and 
spectacular fairy extravaganza of Little Boy 
Blue .... In general character the piece is 
allied to the famous pantomimes of the Ravel 
and Martinetti troupes. Its plot is an apothe- 
osis of Mother Goose , who has risen from the 
nursery to bo a theme for within (?) P\mch and 
for extravagant fun on the stage. Just now 
Hickory Diokory Dock furnishes a title for a 
dramatic absurdity in Now York, and contempo- 
raneously we have The Old Woman ^Vho Lived In 
a Shoe furnishing tKe subject of a diverting 
pantomime in San Francisco. The 'Little Boy 
Blue' is one of the numerous children of the 
old woman, and the ruffled current of his love 
for a golden-haired blonde is the ostensible 
motive of the play, --fair ies,d emends, pantaloons, 
clowns, harlequins, and monsters taking a 
promiscuous hand and furnishing rapid succession 
of magical transformations, laughable mishaps, 
and beautiful tableaux. The tricks and changes 
are equal in number and skillful execution to 
some of the best things of the Ravels... the 
fairy scene being actually gorgeous, while the 
closing tableau is one of the prettiest ever 
presented in the city. 


'! rM 'j . 

■ J. 

Burlesque 108 

"The music is a clear adaptation of popular 
airs, and the chorus of themes from Mother 
Goose is very droll. Many of the Incidents of 
the piece are burlesques on the sensation dra- 
mas of the day, or satirical hits at local in- 
stitutions and bodies. The railroad rescue 
scene in Under the Gaslight -^^ is parodied by 
Pantaloon lifting the drunken clovm above the 
track, which the two bestride, \vhile a Lillipu- 
tian train of cars passed \mder their legs. 
The old woman of the shoe and her large brood, 
the bvirlesque brass band and horse marines in 
military procession, the file of old maids 
dolefully singing, were all funny featiorea, 

"A tiny creature danced the 'Highland Fling' so 
prettily as to call down a shower of silver 
coins. Sue Robinson riiade a charming Fairy. 
Paul Martinet ti sustained his reputation as 
Harlequin. ..." 

The Bulletin for December 8, 1869 indicated that 

the Martinettis were approaching the new decade in undiminished 


"Despite the xmpleasant weather, the Metropoli- 
tan was nearly" filled on the occasion of the 
appearance of the Martinetti troupe last eve- 
ning. The performance commenced v/ith the panto- 
mime entitled Katie the Vivandiere , which was 
prettily produced and admirably played, Madame 
Martinetti, Madame Marzettl, and Miss Lehman 
doing some astonishing feats of dancing and 
posing, winning tiraultuous applause and liberal 
flower offerings. This was followed by feats 
of strength and agility by the Martinetti 
brothers and Mons. Buislay, comprising among 
others that of swinging chairs— a feat at once 
dangerous and difficult. The entertainment con- 
cluded with the Chris traas pantomime of Jack and 
Jill, vifhich had been in preparation sometime 
and was produced with a degree of splendor sel- 
dom equalled on a San Francisco stage. It has 
all the grotesqueness and amusing extravagance 
and improbability of the traditional pantomime — 
with the inevitable occasion of Harlequin and 

•55 See Page 91 et seq. 


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Burlesque 109 

Columbine, of Clown and Pantaloon, It is full 
of tricks and transformations of magic and 
mystification, of spectacular scenes and sur- 
prises. There is the usual melange of fairies 
and goblins, of spirits of the earth, the air 
and the nether world, with a sufficient sprin- 
kling of the h\aman element to make things live- 
ly. Some of the scenes are striking} some are 
laughable; some are surprising in the efforts 
produced. The piece has many elements of pop- 
ularity, abovinds in pertinent and impertinent 
local hits, has some clever strokes of satire 
and can hardly fail to draw. It will be re- 
peated tonight." 

The production of The Black Crook in 1867 had set 
the pattern. With increased exposure of limb and a freshen- 
ing-up of the diablerie, this piece bridged the rest of the 
century with n\amQrous performances and was still drawing well 
in the nineties, Elise Holt, Lydia Thompson, the several com- 
petitive companies of British Blondes -- all the famous female 
stars of burlesque became a part of the Black Crook tradition. 
There had been a time when burlesque had the moaning of the 
word. From 1870 on, burlesque in America headed definitely 
away from its original line. The leg show innovation cleared 
the way for the tvro very related faces of twentieth century 
burlesque: on the one hand, the glorified, musical revues, 
which abhorred the title of burlesque for the wrong reason; 
and on the other hand, the strip-tease theatres on the fringe 
of the theatrical districts, who adhered to the burlesque ti- 
tle, also for the wrong reason. 


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Burlesque 110 

Two theatrical ventures In New York City in March 
1869 forecast the future. The Elise Holt Troupe was appear- 
ing in a burlesque called Lucrezia Borgia, or, The Grand Doc - 
tress ; Jolin Brougham was appearing as Shylock in the bur- 
lesque written by himself and called Much Ado About a Mer - 
chant of Venice . Elise Holt, having absorbed theatrical news 
about the success of the blonde belles in England and their 
plans for an invasion of America, presented her troupe of na- 
tive titians, b-runettos, and nondescripts, in golden-haired 
uniformity. High silk tights plus peroxide was the touch- 
stone of appeal, not the spoken lines of the burlesque. For 
Brougham, however, burlesque still signified satirical come- 
dy. Much Ado About a Merchant of Venice, v/as the last of his 
burlesques to gain any attention. His early success, Poca- 
hontas and Columbus , might be revived on the basis of the 
sentimental memory of theatregoers, but these same theatre- 
goers would take nothing new in the same direction. The new 
direction was already monopolized by the parade of the blonde 

The Spirit of the Times, New York, for Pvlay 15, 1869, 
implied that the new burlesque was something to which 
a germicide might be applied: 

"The burlesque epidemic has spread to the Pacif- 
ic Coast. Ixion rages at Barrett and McCul- 
lough's new California Theatre." 

Ixion, or The Man at the yJheel , one of the most 

popular of the mythological extravaganzas by the Englishman, 

•OI-X c -pzoinis^ 

&■:■■•■■ '..•■■■:-:. o.-i J tec^^oScff--. ^ni;"/^:^,.-!^ "' ; aai.aay. . J ig :^ -^• Ih.; 

•xl-:;.. , .. i)ilr;3l;gfiS n.£ esilo'J ;3^irtol--. ..• •• ■' '' ■ 

tQ%lr,ii'>'V\'^iiiov, cil ^n'^^'.* 'x'jcot^iorr -'^ ■" ■'■"'■■■• '-Href jeh.-- 

-ri»j:;(>:» dil;t a£v c:iiix^■'.i;c ex/Lc a-. .... . :. . ./-.IH . ; . ;: .. 

',ron erf? tcioiiC'&'iis: e-Tvi?*; e/l.t ni' wan snl.''"'- ' ' ^'' ' ■■ - 


Burlesque •'■^•'■ 

F, C. Burnand,was produced by a local company and disappeared 
rapidly from the press to make way for Elise Holt's advance 
publicity. In all the writing of this much-played piece, 
the following excerpt is one of the few moments when the 
words seem to catch on to a little bit of contemporary 


Venus, I've been admiring yo-ur dress. 

The artiste's shop whore that was made, 
dear, thrives? 
VEiniS : 

The dressmakers lose by it. 


Their lives. 

For drawing-room days we put them in a 

And then command our dresses in a hurry. 

For nights and days to get it done they ply 

Their busy needles, stitch, stitch, stitch, 
and die. 

I'm very sorry. 

So am I dear, too. 

A good deal of advance publicity for Miss Holt had 
been furnished gratis by Olive Logan, reformer* This woman 
had stalked across America and up and down the Pacific Coast 
predicting darkness for all the bright luminaries of bur- 
lesque, and inveighing against a public which was so weak as 
to expose itself. On July 17, 1869 the San Francisco News 
Letter announced the imminent advent : 

"On Monday evening Miss Elise Holt, a burlesque 
actress of considerable note will make her 
first appearance, in one of Byron's burlesques, 
called Lucrezia Borgia , in which Miss Holt is 
described as being immense." 

U.£ e;jp^:jl'wB 

orf:^ noi^w e^riei-noOT wel edct io ono eJ: .tqtt-cxs gniwoX io'i ar<;J 
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?9er I 

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i^novhA -iaenlsmt edi 'be- ^.vv uoJ 

-: . .. lo F.ZB'iii'^E 

•^.: .,:=:■:._ ~:.:\. ■^:::'- __i . ;. " .^sII^-O 

Biirlesque 112 

The editorial rooms of the city took violent issue 
in the matter. The News Letter immediately anathematized 
Elise Holt and all of her kind. The Bulletin tried to main- 
tain a dignified disgust, Figaro alone, as uncompromisingly 
"but a little late, came to Elise Holt's defense. The Bulletin 
lay the ground for the offensive July 20, 1869: 

"California Theatre Burlesque rules the hour. 
Offenbach warbles to crowded houses, when Bel- 
lini cannot get a hearing; Byron (what a profa- 
nation of a great name;) crows Shakespeare off 
the stage,... We were not surprised, therefore to 
find the Theatre crov/ded on the occasion of the 
debut of Miss Elise Holt, one of the priestesses 
of the burlesque muse, last evening. Miss Holt 
belongs to the high blonde order of feminine 
beings. It was against her class that Olive 
Logan launched her recent diatribes. Some peo- 
ple v/ould call her pretty; she is certainly 
striking in appearance, but whether pleasantly 
or otherwise will depend on the taste of the 
individual. She is petite, plump of figure, 
has expressive covmtenanoe, is supple of move- 
ment, and has an abundance of vivacity of man- 

"She is pert, saucy, audacious, and betrays an 
emancipation from restraints of modesty.... 

"Of her costume we will say little, for there is 
little of it; her pvirpose evidently being to 
typify in her own person the spirit of the 
'nude drama,' If her appearance was an offense 
to every modest woman in the audience, it told 
in her favor with a large class of the male the- 
atre-going public, who applauded her.... At any 
rate if a theatre cannot be supported without 
the aid of such equivocational attractions as 
Miss Elise Holt, it had better be closed." 

On July 24, the Nevfs Letter followed the Bulletin's 
suit with pellmell hysteria: 

"This class of people (Elise Holt) is the crea- 
tion of a foul public taste, who like the 
creatures (or victims) of any other such demand 

51.: o;/pBbIi.t.rS 

• »• 

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oi 6'ioldT&rIj jijsaiiq'ii/s >JoiX eis\' o'.'^. wvjoji^da bilb 

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eiil "^o. a^ESii sdd- n$^ bneqsii XX.tvr 6b. ■ to' 

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-even lo sXctqi/e" si, .eonsrtea-.cujco svisae'^cxs SBff 

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oj- 3rij.©o'....;v:Iiitsi>xve ©s^giyq lorf- ^ix Id oioJlL . 
odii Ic. vli.'-ixce". sjrfd rioap/eGf... rrA'o lerl nX x'^lqYi . 
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"^n.y- .1'A/«,.iori 5'(2fc*/.'"Xqq^ ..ojTfv?- t'i" • ,•,-.>_•-;'-' rctVi 

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a£ eA'ol:'p.,!,iJivS Xcnox-:f>vO'oyij;?p£« -o.:/-- -.0' ' fti.;^- ■•.)/:■;■' ■ 

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t jyi'i-.oy-^:v':pr XXS£if?l'©qrioivr- iJLvt 

erfd-".'">L(:X . . orir. . . te:tsx:ct oxi^Jyq ■• X^Jc'i ■ -/-; . -"io - nol^t - 

Burlesque ^^^ 

--are equally beneath criticism, contempt, or 
punishment. They are, in fact, without the 
pale of consideration altogether. They are 
simply individual members of a class, with 
which, as a class, we may deal, v/hile it v/ould 
be rank injustice to single out one member of 
it for the' visitation of special penalty. Be- 
sides which, the only practicable penalty is 
that of social ostracism: and these people are 
not within the social pale to be ostracized... • 
Eliminating those people, brings the managers 
and the public face to face: i.e., you have on 
one hand, Mr. Barrett and Mr. McCullough, and on 
the other the audience— a dense, piled-up house. 
The latter came to see the person called Holt, 
knowing that she would be indecent and nasty, 
(our selection of language, you remark, is ac- 
curately adapted to the performance: the peo- 
ple v/ho squeezed to see the one, will not of 
course object to read the other.) The exhibi- 
tion was the sort which has only heretofore 
been visible at the Bella Union. That audience 
knev; that such v/ould be the fact, and brought 
its V7ives, sisters, sv/eethearts and mothers to 
gaze upon it... ." 

This "shoot-the-works" irritation of the News Let - 
ter was still audible, August 7, 1869: 

"The Holt drama, as an after-piece, has contin- 
ued to hold the boards— but has, we are more 
happy to say, discontinued to draw; the respect- 
able clrc3.e is pretty thoroughly emptied at the 
close of the respectable drama; the people who 
stay are a low lot; v/e have looked in on them 
and recognized few or none of that society whoso 
Organ we are. 

"We have only one reflection to offer, in addi- 
tion to those heretofore made, upon the subject 
of the unclean drama: Formerly when legs v/ere 
exposed upon the stage, the leg was subjected 
to rigid criticism. ...Miss Holt has no figure 
whatever; a pair of thin arms, huge hips, utterly 
out of 3hape--and there you are. Aside from 
its other faults, this series of exhibitions 
has been a wretched one in point of the materi- 
al exhibited. . >," 

i^xi bisptel' 


edj . . . 

bxucvf d 

flO £)1j3 , 

-OB el ,k'':. 
-ceg. ox::t 
lo ion .'!"^ 

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.0 Ib 

Burlesque 114 

By this time there were enough ingredients in the 
pot for a sizable explosion. Both the Bulletin and the News 
Letter had continued their original attacks with long, jejune 
attempts at the vitriolic. The "strong animal development" 
and a "certain, jerky vivacity" of Miss Holt had suggested to 
the unschooled Bulletin scribe the "Hula-Hula of the Hawai- 
ian Cyprians," whose dance was, so far, sheer hearsay in Cal- 
ifornia, The plays in vAiich Miss Holt had appeared. Lucre zia 
Borgia and The Field of the Cloth of Gold , had lingered on 
the palate of this same scribe with a "decidely melodeon fla- 
vor," The peroxided, denuded apparition of the star had been 
pronounced "an offense to every modest v;oman in the audience" 
and "an appeal to the lowest and most groveling of masculine 
instincts," With a slightly hesitant prophetic insight, the 
Bulletin had concluded: 

"We are inclined to think that the manager, look- 
ing to the permanent as well as present interests 
of the establishment, has made a mistake in in- 
troducing melodeon business. The excuse of 
course is that the popular tasto demands this 
class of entertainment. But this taste is a 
vitiated one to which it is wrong to pander. 
Besides people will soon become disgusted — 
have already become disgusted in the East--with 
the 'nude drama,' The blonde women will find 
their proper place in the concert saloons, and 
the legitimate drama, let us hope, will recover 
its prerogative...."* 

Miss Holt could not be prodded by these dull pins 

endlessly. With (from all reports) tears in her eyes, and 

* Bulletin, July 20, 1869, 


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bur: ^-.naoX'Be ;Jf-©o/iOy f;i.i' iU : 

•■■■'",•.•'►•; -iq ejx 

alq lix/b oG,eri? "\^o Jo. •-ft t;Xwv ' eglM 

'• ^■ — I .IK i r> «>ii II 1 1'. 

Burlesque 115 

(again from all reports) a cowhide in her hand, she braved 

the office of I/Ir. Iferriott, the editor of the News Letter . 

The exact procedure from that point on is nowhere indicated. 

The Spirit of the Times (New York) for August 21, 1869 made 

its own conjecture: 

"As Miss Holt is about three feet two inches in 
height, and Marriott over the average in size, 
'the damage done the calves of his legs, had 
they met, would have been frightful.'" 

August 27, Figaro laid a last satirical wreath on 

the issue : 

"Of co\irse the Bullotin had as good a right to 
abuse Miss Elise iiolt on her first appearance 
at the California Theatre as any other of the 
valiant quill-drivers who compose the noble 
army of her foes; it was a proper enough thing 
to do on that occasion, for had not the others, 
who do know some little of what they are talk- 
ing about, taken the lead? Granted, we say, 
that the Bulletin in launching forth its anath- 
ema at that time did not make a much greater 
fool of itself than usual when it finds the 
chance J what in the name of comraon sense does 
the venerable stupid mean by trying to keep it 
up? Haven't the others given way at last?,., And 
lias not the public, which was appointed referee 
in the Case, fully and finally decided it? The 
verdict has been rendered in favor of the little 
defendant; she is exonerated from all blame by 
the best of tribunals, and lo, our virtuous 
friend will not be satisfied. .. .Now as the Bul - 
letin had seen Miss Holt on a previous occasion 
--did she see him when he called? — and had then 
expressed his opinion, of her, it is but fair 
to suppose that he must have had an object in 
going a second time. Did he go because he liked 
it? Or was it because he knew what it v;ould be 
like, and was it urgent need of something to 
pitch into where there would be small danger of 
a return blow? Oh, v/orthy knight, Oh most 
redoubtable La Mahcha, had you not better have 
gone your way in peace, and left the pretty 
shining windmill alone? 

.fV",. •.'..'.' o ,-. ^^. . - . .,:•■•;. , •.d'XcraQ'-i Lis, ri-.- 

.V..- ■ --■■ .:•..;. ji^.f. v. . ..,:^i!K?irrrfiiJ^ •■,'::•:' 'ic*''^ ' 

,. ; .• .:-,... ..-,.... '.'■:■ ,r-:ioq f ctcr.',; .ndn'i •e'XJJ£^o:oD^'■• 


Bvirlesque 116 

Pyginy-like against the skirling approach of the 
giant blondes, the News Letter and the Bulletin stood de- 
fiantly and ineffectually. Elise Holt was the lone, bleached 
harbinger of a whole flock. Lydia Thompson and her British 
Blondes nightly were embanking their Lorelei splendor against 
the footlights at Wood's Museum in New York City. The value 
of theatrical entertainment in America came to depend on a 
very real golden thread. Teutonic propaganda is not evident, 
nor a general desire to bolster up the "decline of the ^/est"; 
but inexplicably, Nordic goddesses in unabashed deshabille 
came to dictate public response. 

Betv/een Eiise Plolt and the ultimate deluge, the 
three Zavlstowski sisters stand heroically as the intermedi- 
ate stage in the peroxide experiment, Emeline, Alice, and 
Christine, vividly dyed, did not die quickly in the public 
mind. Early autumn, 1869, they v/ere playing at Wood's Muse- 
um in New York City. liVhile they danced, sang, and punned 
their way through the burlesque Masaniello in the doeply-se- 
creted theatre of the museum, Chang, the Chinese giant, was 
displayed in the lobby. Dusty taxidermy, human freaks, and 
gambling devices wore still crowded within the lobbies of 
these so-called muse\ims, as a false front to the immoralities 
of the music halls in the rear. Jefferson, at this time, was 
closing a famous season at Booth's theatre, in the character 

■■i.L.\ :-:.\, -i^ri' ba^- ■ ■ . •. . 

■ ■■:- . .■■■■■■■■.'■■'■■^i.JLdiJCl-.i: 

... •*.". .■"',' • .. ' .'.... , ' - .-. ■' J . '' . ' 

' .' . '■? . ,'Ci'"I,(v"B. ■■•..•'. '■. J . " ' i '■ .. 

Burlesque 117 

of Rip Van Vi/inkle. Before leaving New York for their San 
Francisco engagement, the Zavistowskis made Jefferson's por- 
trayal of "Rip" the pivot of a new burlesque, Wip Wan Winkle , 
with Chang towering through the last days of long service as 
decoy. Rita Sangalli, noted Italian danseuse, \'Jho was to ap- 
pear in San Francisco in January 1870, a few days ahead of 
the Zavistowskis, followed in their wake at Wood's. Flick 
Flock , the burlesque in which she made her first American ap- 
pearance at Wood's, is buried beyond research; but it is known 
that while she enchanted people with her mastery of ballet 
technique, the museum proper was hung vdth posters announcing 
"Royal Bengal Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Lioness and 
Cubs, Mammoth and Infant Elephants, and Cages of Wild Ani- 

Marie Bonfanti, only dancer of the time to give 
Sangalli headaches of competition, had preceded her to the 
Coast. Together with a corps de ballet, Bonfanti, at Ma- 
guire's Opera House, had presented "the original canean as 
danced at Niblo's Garden in New York." Sangalli, v/ho was in- 
troduced to San Francisco in a revival of The Black Crook , 
immediately came in for comparisons with Bonfanti: 

"The spectacular absvirdity of The Black Crook 
was presented to a densely packed house last 
evening. The cast contained an odd and some- 
what surprising combination of talent, embrac- 
ing in addition to the regular company, the 

•5S- Odell, George C, D. Annals of the New York Stage . Vol. 
Vill, p. 587. 

•lAf -i: 

: i-;i'-l ?,«?•■• 

■ TS^^W 

ii::v.,-; ;f' 

Burlesque 118 

Martinettl troupe, Madame Scheller, Harry Cour- 
taine, (recruited f rom a Barbary Coast Melodeon) 
and one or two other notorieties. The great at- 
traction was of course La Rita Sangalli, the 
eminent dan3euse,who made her debut.... Her style 
of dancing is unique. Indeed she may be said 
to have created a school of her own. Less arch 
and vivacious, and perhaps less airy in her 
movements than Bonfanti, she is more classical, 
more severely artistic, more svirprisingly lithe 
of limb. Her poses are the perfection of grace. 
She executes the most difficult steps with an 
ease, freedom and abandon, at once pleasing and 
startling. She was warmly applauded and compli- 
mented by numerous floral favors...,"* 

La Sangalli, however, not satisfied with this parti- 
tion of the bouquet, appeared January 15 on a bill which in- 
cluded a burlesque of Bonfanti 's particular abilities. The 
wife of one of the Mar tine ttis performed the satire, but Sang- 
alli no doubt closely and expertly superintended the take- 

On January 18, the arrival of the Zavistowskis put 

an obscure finish to this small rivalry of the great dancers. 

The public quickly responded to the blonde lure, lost for a 

moraont in the classical v;hirl of the ballet. The thrilling 

rapproachement took place at the New Alhambra. 

"The sisters Zavistowski made their debut before 
a closely packed house last evening. .. .They are 
blondes of a pronounced type. They are pretty 
and vivacious and thoroughly up to the art of 
pleasing the fancy of the crowd. They sing 
well, dance charmingly, and act v;ith a naive 
abandon that is very pleasing. Miss Emma, v/ho 
assvuned the role of 'Ixion' in the b\arlesque of 
that name, played with audacity, sang and danced 
as if she were possessed, "looked very be- 
v/itchlng, and closed the entertainment with a 

-:t Bulletin. January 11, 1870. 

I .Jr^ % ^■.~ r r 

J. .... ... 

•e5l js:f ■ drier 

r %/■_■■■ .; ,• ,-•- 

.<,Vi-» .-> f-, rj }/ , ;• K-yj r r/^ »f "t j ?." 

Burlesque 119 

bit of acting not in the 'bills--falnted away,"'^'' 

The Zavistowskis were obviously ideal press agents 

for Lydia Thompson and her troupe. The critics were pleased 

that the three graces were blonde, but further pleased that 

their own predilection needed no apology -'- the Zavistowskis 

were blonde charmers on the safe side. 

"The sisters Zavlstowski are drawing excellent 
houses. They are vivacious actresses, alng 
rather better than the average of their class, 
and dance audaciously and in a style that is, 
to say the least, unique. They are leather chary 
of costume, bu.t have none of the bestiality of 
the blondes of the Elise Holt type,"-5^"' 

With a quick succession of burlesques, Ixion , Pyg - 
malion , the Female Forty Thieves , Cinderella , the three sis- 
ters so fascinated San Francisco theatregoers, that Sangalli 
and Bonfantl, still in town, united their forces and attempt- 
ed a two-star comeback in The Black Crook at Maguire's Opera 
House on February 7, '''Hiat blood was shed in this explosive 
combination is nowhere Indicated. Sangalli appears again in 
the press February 15, 1870 (the Bulletin), but thore is a 
suspicious hush about Bonfantl 's name. No writer of the time 
would have been so inept as to treat Bonfanti recklessly as 
one of La Sangalli 's "sisters". 

"The performances at the Opera House are rapidly 
approximating the melodeon standard. The Can- 
can in its lewdest form was boldly introduced 
in the extravaganza of The Slave of Love last 
evening. La Sangalli and her sisters threw off 

■^ Bulletin. January 18, 1870 
-:H:-Ibid, January 24, 1870 

j^ti^«,^>. w=:,^. 

Burlesque 120 

everything like the appearance of decency, and 
stood confessed before the audience 'naked and 
not ashamed.' Vyhat the style of performances 
at the 'Bella Union' and the 'Pacific Melodeon' 
may bo, we know not; but if they are much worse 
than what we saw last night, they must be low 
indeed. We dooply regret that Mr. Magulre, to 
whom the amusement-seeking public owe so much, 
should feel compelled to introduce such a style 
of entertainment at his house. We need not add 
that The Slave of Love was witnessed by a house 
almost exclusively made up of men, was abundant- 
ly applauded, and will be repeated this evening." 

The state of theatrical affairs is clear from this 
quotation. The old type of extravaganza b\irlesque with some 
dignity in the ballet routine, was giving way to the high 
kick out of the big, blonde cloud* The delicate balance of 
ballet tradition exemplified by Sangalll and Bonfanti must 
either assume the contemporary antics of the cancan or dis- 
appear. But the cancan wasn't enough. There must be flesh- 
colored tights and a flaxen hazo about the head. So the 
stars of Eiiropean ballet dropped out of sight, while the Za- 
vistowskis, fulfilling all requirements, extended their en- 
gagement well into May^ On May 17, the Alhambra having been 
dark for only three days since the close of the Zavistowski 
run (they were probably still in town), one of them, Emeline, 
suffered the inevitable and just fate of all burlesque art- 
ists; she was mercilessly burlesqued by a fellow burlesquer, 
Willie Edouin. The tako-off occurred in a burlesque HamJet , 
presented at the California Theatre. 

"Willie Edouin costumed in exact imitation of 
J^meline Zavlstov^ski took the part of 'Laertes,' 
'Hamlet' and his 'Mother' danced the Can-can, 
and 'Laertes' was particularly happy in his 

1^. ■ ■ • •■ 




Burlesque 121 

mimicry of the little, above named actress, and 
v/as rewarded by peals of laughter from all 
parts of the house. His Chinese dance was orig- 
inal, characteristic and also brought dovm the 
house, . . .""^ 

The internationally trained eye of Lydia Thompson 
was to agree with this eulogy of Edouin. Shortly after her 
arrival in San Francisco, she spotted Edouin' s talont and in- 
duced him to Join her company. 

Spring of 1870, and the blondes are on the way. 
The limping winter season becomes suddenly hysterical with 
activity. The attention of the tovm is called to Maguire's 
last stand. Always astutely aware of the theatrical trend he 
now tries to exploit the fame of the Lydia Thompson company 
with the earlier engagement of a blonde troupe of his own. 
The "great, old drama" was definitely sitting on cold ground, 
and the public v/as lending no ear at all to the sad stories 
of the deaths of kings. In an attempt to save his fortune, 
Maguire v/as going to give the public what it apparently want- 
ed, and this against the little inner voice which had prompt- 
ed him throughout his career to produce the "better" things, 
even at a loss, 


A change in theatrical terminology about this time 

clearly discloses the shift of public taste. For many years 

burlesque had been the "afterpiece" to comedy, minstrelsy, 

or farce. As the spectacular aspects of burlesque involved 

* Bulletin, May 17, 1870 

TvSW ,. 

.•^:^rr oi^t^iel-Ji 

Burlesque 122 

more and more machinery, as the leg-show hallet, v;ith endless 
costume changes, became the piece de resistance, as the plot 
of b-urlesque dissolved entirely into a series of detached ex- 
travaganzas, so the length of a burlesque expanded, until The 
Black Crook, at its Now York opening, demanded (and received) 
the presence of tho audience for the incredible duration of 
five hours. Burlesque was now the feature of the shov;, Tho 
farce, short comedy, or minstrol entertainment which opened 
the show v/as now spoken of as the "forepiece." Soon this 
forepiece would be dispensed with altogether, and the 
twentieth century musical revue would be elevated clear from 
all its origins. The Black Crook had already taken burlesque 
far in this direction. Lydia Thompson and the British 
Blondes, whom she released upon America as if from an in^ 
exhaustible bird-cote, were to fix the standard of theatrical 
entertainment so firmly that there was to be practically no 
development for fifty years. M. B. Leavitt in his Fifty 
Years in Theatrical Management has this to say about the 
1870-1880 period: 

"Those fciirlesques) I staged then were equivalent 
to the Broadway Musical shows of today, though 
not upon so elaborate a scale, but the artists 
were fully as excellent...." 

Ivlaguire anticipated the opening of the Lydia Thomp- 
son troupe at the California, June 23, 1870, with the opening 
of a British Blonde troupe of his ovm contracting, J^une 16, 
at the Opora House, There is a good deal of confusion as to 
just who made up this company at Maguire's, Rose Mas soy was 

• woriB 

'S . . 9J:i^ 

■^ s^O vJ^ti .^ ^^i 

Burlesque 123 

the central luminary, and there are press notices to the ef- 
fect that she had "bolted from Lydia Thompson's original New 
York company and formed a company of her own. This is not 
true. Lydia Thompson first appeared in New York, September 
28, 1868; Rose Massey made her American debut with an entire- 
ly different company in February 1869. The outstanding mem- 
bers of the Thompson company who broke away in an ambitious 
attempt to emulate the master company's success, were Eliza 
Weathersby, Adah Harland, and Harry Beckett. 

The Annals of t he N_ew York Stage , compiled by 
George C. D. Odell, establish the Britishness of the Thompson 
troupe : 

"The great sensation, perhaps tiie supreme excite- 
ment of the season (1868-69) in New York, came 
on September 2Sth, when first appeared in our 
city the Lydia Thompson burlesque company, in a 
re-writing of Burnand's extravaganza, Ixion , 
or the Man at the \Vheel . The body of this com- 
pany was made tip in New York, but from England 
Sarauol Colville imported five players who were 
destined to make a deep impression here. First 
and foremost Y;as Lydia Thompson herself , a hand- 
some, clever actress in pieces of this kind. 
Next in artistic importance was Ada Harland, 
from the Strand Theatre, London; Lisa Weber, 
from Covent Garden; the beautiful Pauline Mark- 
ham, from the Queen's Theatre; and Harry Beck- 
ett, from the Prince of Wales Theatre, Liver- 
pool, completed the victoriotis quintette. M. 
Connolly, musical director, was also new. These 
six really composed the British contingent in 
the troupe that soon became so famous.""* 

The British Blondes opened at Maguire's in the bur- 
lesque Luna, or the Little Boy l^io Cried for the Moon , with 
a short comedy, To Oblige Benson , as a forepiece.The newspapers 

* Eliza Weathersby joined the troupe In Nev/ York, June 14, 


l^sj: ■ 

Burlesque 124 

were very reserved at first and then admitted to a residue 

of entliusiasm. The Bulletin , for instance, for June 17,1870: 

"The British Blondes must have been greatly en- 
couraged and elated by the spectacle at the Op- 
era House last night. It was packed full in 
every part, and they were received with oft re- 
peated and tumultuous applause. But it is ques- 
tionable whether they merited all the favors 
that were bestowed upon thera. 'Pretty blonde' 
has become quite synonymous ^vith 'pretty rough. ' 
The Lingards , however , demonstrated that a woman 
with yeilovf hair can be a modest and graceful 
lady on the stage, and that one may look at her 
without expecting to see her kick higher than 
her head, or give expression to coarse speeches 
to 'split the ears of the groundlings.' We 
should be pleased to say as much of some of the 
British Blondes. They are not distinguished 
kickers. Elise Holt or the Zavistowskis were 
their superiors in that respect j but when it 
comes to bandying with the gods such vile 
phrases as 'How's that for high?' with the toes 
of one foot pointing towards zenith, and 'How's 
that for low? ' with the body wriggling and squat 
tov/ards nadir, the chaste Diana of the play last 
night is entitled to the palm of -unenviable su- 
periority. She is pretty, can sing passably, and 
dance airily; but she must learn that such fa- 
miliarity smacks too much of the melodeon to be 
tolerated by the majority of those who patron- 
ize the Opera House. One coarse word or inde- 
cent gesture destroys at once all admiration 
for an artist, thougla she may be as beautiful 
as Hebe or as graceful as Thalia. \ie hope, for 
the sake of the management and the troupe, as 
well as for that of the public, that the faults 
alluded to will be reformed. The first piece 
last night shov/ed the troupe to best advantage. 
The burlesque, although highly amusing for the 
most part, dragged considerably at times, and 
was marred by a degree of coarseness which of- 
fended many in the audience. If they will tone 
down in that respect, their success will be as- 
sured. There was a lively distribution of en- 
cores, and such a profusion of bouquets that 
the recipients seemed several times at a loss 
to know what to do with them, and tossed the 
tributes about with a recklessness that was 
quite amusing. Rose Massey seemed to be the 

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Burlesque 125 

chief attraction among the blondes, but Eliza 
Weathersby in a more quiet and modest way chal- 
lenged better admiration. She has a pretty 
voice and v/onderl\il powers of imitation. G.P. 
Ketchum and H.Beckett displayed more tlian aver- 
age ability as comedians aiid v;on hearty and 
well bestowed applause. Ada Harland danced with 
much grace and animation, but the rest were not 
required to exert themselves very much in any 
direction. The costumes of the principal sirt- 
ists were very brilliant and sufficiently scant, 
v/ithout being positively indecent. The scenery 
was quite good, and the representation of the 
moon's descent with Diana was very fine, as was 
also the closing Tab3.eaux." 

Resplendent as Maguire was able to make this open- 
ing of his blonde display, Lydia Thompson opened at the Cal- 
ifornia theatre six days later with even more eclat. The 
critic of the Bulletin for June 23, 1870 fully elaborated his 

"The Lydia Thompson Blonde Burlesque Troupe made 
their first appearance last night before the 
largest audience ever assembled in the Califor- 
nia Theater. Not only were all the seats oc- 
cupied, but every foot of standing room, and 
from each of the four or five wide doors lead- 
ing to the dress circle long rows of chairs 
were placed., reaching back into the lobby, and 
on these men stood looking over each other's 
shoulders and heads and vmder each other's arms 
to catch a glimpse of the stage and its occu- 
pants. Many wore obliged to go away after 
striving a long time to find some position 
from which they could gain even a momentary 
glance. The appearance of Miss Thompson v/as 
the signal for a storm of applause, and from 
that moment to the end of the performance she 
and her companions held the field. At one 
time there were so many recalls, and such 
shouting, stamping, and yelling in the gal- 
leries, Mr. McCullough was obliged to come 
on the stage and request the gods to desist and 
allow the play to go on. They wanted about the 
twentieth repetition of the 'ABC' song* It 
contained some pointed local hits at notable 
persons and public bodies, among the latter 

' 'Krr(yf- 

■ <.,i: '■. .: 

Burlesque 126 

the Fire Commissioners on the election of an 
assistant Chief Engineer. Mr. LIcCullough's re- 
quest was heeded, and after that the galleries 
were not so exacting. Although there were 
several speeches that might well have been 
left out, there were, so far as we could hear, 
no expressions of a coarse character. The cos- 
tumes of the females in the troupe were exceed- 
ingly brilliant, and there was not a marked 
display of bust and limb as the reputation of 
the troupe and of burlesque actresses generally 
might lead one to expect. ..." 

The blondes at Maguire's were to terminate their 
engagement before those at the California. During the con- 
junction of the two runs, open rivalry developed, never em- 
bittered as far as the companies were concerned, but;:at3- 
ly unhappy for Maguire. The popularity of a special "sneez- 
ing song" by Rose Massey was paralleled quickly by a special 
"echo song" by Pauline Markham, the famous beauty of tlie 
Thompson troupe. Change of program at one theatre stimulated 
change of program at the other. There finally was simultane- 
ous production of the burlesque La Sonnambula . This locking 
of horns was reported by the San Francisco News Letter 
July 2, 1870: 

"The burlesque of La Sonnambula , played at both 
houses (with important variations) is perhaps 
better than the average, in that it is a parody 
of that which it professes to parodlzo, and 
follows with a reasonable distinctness the plot 
of the opera. Deducting Miss Thompson, the two 
troupes are very evenly balanced. Maguire has 
the best of it in the possession of Beckett, a 
comedian of genuine merit, who never misses a 
point, and is infinitely more versatile than 
Sheridan at the California, who is, we think, a 
good actor, but utterly out of place in bur- 
lesque. The Bush Street people have also an un- 
doubtedly clever low comedian in Caliill. We 
are inclined to rate Eliza Weather sby, and Ada 

3£: '.J 03 3/ 

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•■i esae'^i^^fvip.;. !>*.>vv.. ^Icji-'n' 

Burlesque 127 

Harland above most of the ladies of the Califor- 
nia in general versatility of talent, and Rose 
Massey is a more beautiful woman than any of 
them. On the other hand, Pauline MarMiam has a 
charming voice and knov/s how to tise it...." 

V/ith the fate of these competitive engagements in 

the balance, Olive Logan, the reformer, megaphoned her voice 

into the scene. F igaro for June 29,1870 doscribos the waste - 

land after the inexorable Olive had passed over: 

"...presently the atmosphere was filled with 
tangled yellow hair, fractured tights, sawdust 
calves, red paint and dye-stuff; and after the 
engagement the platform was metaphorically cov- 
ered with green satin boots, from which the 
late oinfortunate Blondes had been violently ex- 
tracted. ..." 

STiroly not as a result of Olive's attack, neverthe- 
less Maguire's blondes closed their engagement at the Opera 
House July 10, and left for Stockton. The Lydia Thompson 
troupe continued at the California until July 23. Praise for 
Lydia and her starring supporters developed into a din of ad- 
jectives. Pauling Markham became "she of the velvet voice." 
The "daintiness which flavors the high comedy of actresses of 
note" was ascribed to the burlesque acting of Lydia. Lydia, 
again is "perfectly at home as the reckless Sir Rupert in 
Lurline"; and Pauline sings a song with "real taste and ex- 
pression." John Hall, who joined the company during the San 
Francisco engagement, "brings down the house without opening 
his mouth, frequently even disturbs the serenity of hia 

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Burlesque 128 

brother and sister professionals on the stage, never misses a 
point, is a thorough actor and a good singer, and as a comic 
dancer is really unapproachable." The deluge followed. 
Lydia became plump, pretty, piquante, sympathetic, bright, 
innocent and winsome. Disarming extremity of praise was re- 
served for Pauline, who, Rlchart Grant White declared had 
found the long-lost arms of Vemis de Milo. 

The San Francisco News Letter for July 23, 1870 
got away from the personalities of the troupe and realisti- 
cally recorded something about tlie material these personal- 
ities were purveying. It has to do with burlesque played at 
the last matinee performance in the city: 

"When Byron the play-wright in a fit of remorse 
entitled his burlesque Ill-Treated II Trovatore 
he was undoubtedly righ'il for tke troubadorhas 
certainly been maltreated by him. In our igno- 
rance, it seems to us that a burlesque of this 
kind could be just as well got up by the actors 
themselves, and that authors are absolutely no- 
where, and perfectly superfluous. Analyze said 
burlesque: given a certain amount of the orig- 
inal music of the opera and a few of the more 
or less un-melodlous fiddle-faddles of the day, 
more or less charmingly s-ung by the Misses Mark- 
ham and Thompson: given a few mad melodeon 
dances: given a few dozen puns and gags which 
any well-regulated burlesque ought to be able 
to invent on the spur of the moment, and what 
need is there for Byron's name in the bills at 
all? We pause for a reply, and don't expect to 
get it. Hall's acting, and especially that bit 
of falsetto acting in singing in the opening 
scene did much to redeem it from utter damna- 
tion, but whatever is good about it v/as due to 
the company and certainly not to any merit in 
the burlesque Itself. ..." 



Burlesque 129 

The two companies of peroxided pyrotechnics were 
gone on wide to\irs of the country which would eventually re- 
turn them to fall seasons in New York. The British Blondes 
had set their first lap at Stockton; Lydia Thompson played her 
first stand at Marysville. As the routes of the two companies 
diverged into the hinterland, great confusion ensued. Dream- 
ing over the advance publicity of the British Blondes, a pro- 
vincial town would be Jolted v;ith the discovery on opening 
night that Lydia Thompson was not in the troupe. And, other 
way around, advertisements of the Thompson troupe innocently 
aroused the mistaken idea that the much-touted beauty of Rose 
Massey finally v/ould be seen. Meanvidiile, in New York, the 
further process of burlesquing burlesque had commenced. The 
San Francisco Minstrels, by this time an accepted and much- 
beloved part of the New York theatre, were delighting packed 
houses with The Sie^e o f the Blondes, or 'Tis Sweet for Our 
Country to Dye . 

One member of the press described the invasion as 
a plague and suggested realistic barriers against all incom- 
ing English ships. The picture conjured up is that of blonde 
Amazons in acrobatic tights, gracefully circumventing the 
rat-guards on the ropes, and bouncing triumphantly into a 
song and a kick-chorus on the wharf. 

Olive Logan was right and wrong; right that the 
thoughtless sensationalism of the new theatre would prove 
debasing and sterile; wrong that an oxygen tank should be 

^^ SSC>: 

Burlesque 130 

applied to the last shiver of life in the decadent legiti- 
mate drama. Well into the 19003, there was to be the loud 
expansion of frontiers around a vacuous interior. With the 
collapse of the frontiers, the country was to he strewn with 
a good deal of disillusioned wreckage. Until that time, no 
questions were to he asked j and as a consequence, the thea- 
tre, along v/ith the other arts, was not to attempt any an- 
swers, was to be sheer decoration. 




(1870 " 1900) 

The close -packed incidents in the theatre of San 
Francisco from the Gold Rush through the Civil V/ar reflect 
the swift and crowded development of the city's economic life. 
Time thus far had been taken up, almost unconsciously, with 
sure investments, unquestioned expansion, gay spending, and 
a life-ls-for-today philosophy. The time from 1870 to 1900 is 
described by two steep drops in the graph. The general de- 
pression in the country'- in 1873 v/as postponed for California 
by the Big Bonanza silver strike in Nevada; but the failure 
of the Bank of California in 1875 and the defaulted dividend 
payments on the silver stock of the Consolidated Virginia 
Mine in 1877 plunged the state even belovir the national eco- 
nomic level. The reckless days of San Francisco were over; 
money v/as scarce, the trusts were in power, the future v/as 
unsure. A slight upcurve of rehabilitation was continuous 
throughout the eighties; but in 1893 there v;as again a devas- 
tating plunge for the whole nation. 


"P) e;lj bnB oS'eX ax j 

Burlesque 132 

Events in the San Francisco theatre for this period, 
1870 to 1900, came to he as widely spaced, as jittery, as 
tentative, as hlind, as the ups and downs on the vast, eco- 
nomic backdrop. Vi/hat was the public interested in? All the 
old forms were tried in this and that guise -- Italian opera, 
Shakespeare, sensation drama, pantomime, extravaganza, bur- 
lesque, farce, minstrelsy, romantic tragedy -- and most of 
them v/ere dropped with that particularly cold clinic; of coin, 
not of the realm. The most consistent profits of the period 
were drawn from light opera, as comic as possible. An epidemic 
of Pinafore productions placed Gilbert and Sullivan at the top 
of the profession. Gilbert, in his ovm career, had given 
burlesque one of its developments : from the dead weight of 
puns and mythology-burdened satire to a freer, lighter use of 
the imagination. But the results of the Savoy collaboration 
were not burlesques. 

Inhere was the old spirit of the melodeon burlesque? 
Prom 1870 to 1900 melodeon entertainment gradually collapsed 
from the full length burlesque of a definite subject to the 
conglomerate variety programs. To begin with, the definite 
subjects were dying off or disappearing. In 1893 Edwin 
Booth, the last of the great line of American tragedians, 
died in his apartment at the Players' Club in New York City. 
Almost no actors of any stature were left; and it takes stat- 
ure to stimulate satire. Contemporary drama before this 
time a very vulnerable subject for burlesque, during the last 

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Burlesque 133 

three decades of the century became thin and unimpressive. 
Sensation drama had been the last, violent attempt to arouse 
interest in the playgoer. Ibsen and the drama of social crit- 
icism had not yet appeared. 

The Black Crook formula was sterile. The cost-cuvie 
designer might scratch his head for one more variation in the 
scant apparel of the dancers; the scene painters might depict 
a deeper, more meticulous illusion in the backdrops; the mat- 
tre de ballet might send his puppets whirling out on the 
stage in the most intricate choregraphy so far witnessed; 
the grand and final transformation scene, by means of the 
most expensive machinery so far used in a theatre, might ac- 
complish, without the drop of the curtain, a geographical 
shift so far unparalleled. But there was no subject matter; 
there v/as nothing to develop except the mechanical aspects of 
the formula. The spectacle piece had finally proven a blind 
alley for burlesque; had also from all indications proven 
dull. The even more glorious mechanism of the spectacles 
failed to draw. There was finally only a sentimental attach- 
ment to what had once been scandalous innovation. The Black 
Crook and other pantomimic spectacles, up to the turn of the 
century, were hauled down annually from the theatrical attics 
of the country and presented as Christmas entertainment for 
the v/hole family* 

The mechanical display of the spectacles, the harm- 
less soft-pawed charm of comic opera, the pointless mellange 

v'uj J'SY -c»n £bx{ raeib.:- 

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Burlesque 13- 

of vaudeville." these were the new estates of burlesque. The 
old burlesque had contained a large element of political sat- 
ire. Even the London -conceived extravaganzas when produced 
in San Francisco were hastily interlarded with supposedly 
sizzling cracks and in-the-know overtones. But the develop- 
ment of the city quickly got beyond this salutary intimacy of 
actor and politician. The hushed power of the trusts and the 
monopolies were for a long time not to be attacked in litera- 
ture or upon the stage. 

With the edge of satire gone so dull, it is not 
surprising that the only genuinely new notes in burlesque for 
this whole period (1870-1900) were two completely fantastic 
creations: the character of Humpty IXi mpty , and the character 
of the Lone Fisherman - The career of Humpty IXimpty vms start- 
ed off in New York in 1868 by G, K# Pox. Thereafter, an ac- 
celeration of long runs by Fox and other great clowns through- 
out the country made of Humpty Dumpty a character as familiar 
as a comic strip character today. The Lone Fisherman was 
first created in the seventies as a character in the bur- 
lesque Evangeline . The plot architecture of burlesque having 
fallen so flat, the authors of E vangeline (Brougham is sup- 
posed to have had a hand in it) conceived this completely 
pantomimic character, who should walk silently, constantly, 
oranipresently among the scattered fragments, hearing every- 
thing, apparently omniscient, yet never committing his wisdom 

-5iA;tiI'-ni foe. •loi ©Tew ■; 

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Burlesque 135 

to any test, his costume always the same, that of a complete- 
ly equipped, cranky trout fisher, intensely spending a pre- 
cious Sunday afternoon away from the office. 

Parallels up through a spiral of time are necessar- 
ily distorted, and rarely illuminating; but these last unreal 
creations of nineteenth century burlesque in the face of the 
impregnable mountain of the monopolies are surely among the 
progenitors of the surrealistic art which confronted the 
apparently boundless but obviously hollow prosperity of the 
1920s. The signs of breakdown and the final crash were to 
give art a new grip; there was to be a renascence of political 
satire. A few productions in the 1930s were even to indicate 
that the central characteristic of burlesque — straight- 
shooting, comic satire, so inherent in much of the early 
melodoon entertainment — was being consciously salvaged as 
a serious dramatic tradition.* All of which is a long leap 
from the dismal condition of burlesque in the 1870s. 

On January 4, 1871 the Bella Union, still the leader 
in the daring vanguard of the town's melodeons, made a news- 
paper impression of interest. The name of the burlesque was 
19 7 1 . At this late date, the amount of fantastic prophecy 
a la H. G. Wells in the burlesque cannot be determined. The 

-^ cf . Last chapter of this monograph. 

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B\irlesque j^gg 

newspaper accounts are sketchy, and very likely much of the 
vatic vision penetrated no further than early twentieth cen- 
tury strip-tease. But the melodeons were always more clever 
than spectacular, and the chances are good that 19 7 1 accan- 
plished some illumination for 1871. As is usual with the 
melodeon entertainment of early San Francisco, the details of 
this Bella Union burlesque are not covered by the press. It 
is notable that the burlesque received as much coverage as it 
did, indicating that melodeon entertainment was at last being 
taken seriously. And why not? With the decline of legiti- 
mate drama, the big theatres came round more and more to the 
same sort of fare that the melodeons had been purveying for 
years. Omitting the melodeons from theatrical reportage would 
now be omitting the whole field of entertainment. 

A few obscure shots at the content of 19 7 1 can 
be taken on the basis of the notice in Figaro for January 4, 

"Among other amusing features in this play may 
be mentioned the introduction of Emperor Norton 
and the poor, persecuted Guttersnipe as Rip Van 
Winkle a hundred years hence. The battle of 
balloons is well managed , and is much applauded." 

To read a false connotation into the battle of bal- 
loons is irresistible. The idea was probably a matter of sheer 
fluff and color; after all, even an overwhelming quantity of 
balloons might bo regarded as a theatrical experience. But 
also, might there not have been a moment of wide-eyed. Buck 
Rogers Intuition? Jules Verne was being widely popularized. 

aobolo :} 

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Burlesque 137 

The exact nature of the Guttersnipe is as obscure as the bal- 
loon encounter. Being poor is understandable, but how was he 
persecuted? Again it is clear that there is no possible 
restoration of the details of melodeon entertainment. 

Figaro for January 7 has the last word for the 
Bella Union's conception of 19 7 1 : 

"The new extravaganza of 1 9 7 1 has run suc- 
cessfully through the week"! THe performance 
throughout is very attractive. The scenes in 
the new play are some of them very fine, and the 
prismatic wheel, or chromatrope, which forms 
the background of the last scene, is very 
effective, and must have cost a great deal of 
money. Sam Tetlow, however does not care how 
much money he spends on a piece as long as it 
pleases the public, and the ringing peals of 
laughter v/hich greet the many fvn.rj jolws in 
the dialogue pt'ovo how thoroughly the talented 
author hit the taste of the public.*' 

The sign of the Gemini, and another unnamed zodia- 
cal sign for triplets, seem to have cast their not entirely 
baneful influence over nineteenth century burlesque. The 
brirlesque queens made fame and fortune as duets or trios of 
familiar splendor* Joey and Adelaide Gougenheim were the 
pioneers. Thereafter followed swiftly, Sophie, Jennie and 
Irene Worrell; Emellne, Alice and Christine Zavistowskij and 
finally Blanche and Ella Chapman. Periodically one of these 
closely tied constellations loomed brightly in San Francisco. 
The Zavistowskis traversed their orbit of "good towns to play 
in" with particular rapidity; after a short absence, they 
reappeared in San Francisco on March 27, 1871. 

-liKf. arid" .•■BB o'iiJOEcf- ■' iaiy^:}i'm^-^' ' 

©ri Eflw. worf \t'iutf • i'o^d'isiifta-is.'tO'iialEiJ-fsl 

Burlesque 138 

"Long before the rise of the curtain at this 
theatre (the California) last night, standing 
room was at a premiujn. The perfonnance com- 
menced with the farce of Delicate Ground, but 
this was not what the audience came to see, and 
v;as therefore impatiently endured # Each of the 
charming Zavlstowski Sisters on making her ap- 
pearance on the stage received round after 
round of applause, and every song and every 
dance was encored. Paris is a labour iously 
constructed burlesque"^ Foo long and too much 
crowded with characters; but there v/as so much 
fun in it as presented last night, that the 
audience was kept amused. Though the burlesque 
moved a little slowly at times last night, the 
entertainment was altogether bright and amusing 
and the Zavlstowski Sisters were as brilliant 
as ever. The pleasure afforded by gazing on 
these sparkling actresses as they dart hither 
and thither resplendent in gorgeous colors and 
gold and silver is akin to that wliich one takes 
in looking at humming birds, or butterflies, — 
it is one that all must enjoy. ""^^ 

The Zavistowskis evidently did not let down the 

speed and splendor of their bird and butterfly appellation, 

for tv/o other burlesques followed the successful run of the 

burlesque Paris . With the opening of both Ixion and Kenil - 

worth, (April 1 and April 5), the critic of Figaro made a 

tripartite division of adjectives in the interest of each 

resplendent sisters 

"The Zavistowskis are certainly as popular as 
ever. Ixlon v/as performed, and did not gD near- 
ly as smoothly as it should; it v^lll,of course, 
be presented perfectly tonight. Miss Emellne 
Zavlstowski bev;itched the audience by her sunny 
smiles, vivacity, grace and pretty dances and 
delivered her lines with good effect ;Miss Alice 
was the brightest of Mercurys, the prettiest 
post-boy ever known; and Miss Christine was 
graceful and artistic as Jupiter. 

-'t Figaro ; March 28, 1871. 


Burlesque 139 

"There is an iiranense amount of fun in the bur- 
lesque of Kenilworth as presented by the Zavis- 
towski Sisters — Miss Emeline made a most noble 
Earl of Leicesterj Miss Alice played the part 
of Walter Raleigh with much spirit, and Miss 
Christine was very amusing as the much wronged 
Amy Robsart." 

A year later, May 1S72, the Zavistowskis appeared 
for the last time on the San Francisco scene. In the interim 
they had played in Australia, which was the traditional leap 
from the Pacific Coast in all the early theatrical itinerar- 
ies. Two old war horses of English burlesque writing, ixion , 
or the Man at the Wheel , and Pygmalion , were refurbished as 
the vehicles of the "bird and butterfly" trio. To the very 
last the Zavistowskis were able to elicit favorable comment 
from the copy room; this time they are "warmly welcomed" and 
the Bulletin for May 7 adjnits that the "local hits in the 
play ( Ixion ) are cleverly wrought and contrast favorably with 
anything of the kind previously produced here." The Bulletin 
for May 11 constructed a final adjectival triptych for the 
still unfaded sisters: 

"Miss Alice Zavistowski' s benefit at this thea- 
tre (the Metropolitan) last evening was well at- 
tended and the performance passed off in fine 
style o The clever burlesque of Pygmalion , pro- 
duced for the first time during the engagement, 
and arranged with special reference to the pe- 
culiar talents of the yovmg and captivating 
actress, bristles with mirth-provoking witti- 
cisms. Miss Emeline is beautiful as "The 
Statue," Miss Alice is an interesting sculptor 
and Miss Grainger makes an excellent 'Venus.'" 

rrrf^ "^rt ■** 

&nja ''fcexnoolp?/ x-J^i-'-^"''" "7-^ 7".~'-i ".-/::f -iirii 

Burlesque 140 

Memory of the Zavistowskis quickly faded when 
bright, new announcements of a performance of Humpty Dumpty 
were posted all over the city. G, K. Pox, in the New York 
r;in of Hiunpty Dumpty , had already given the role of the clown 
lineaments as definite as those of a Commedla dell 'Arte char- 
acter. In fact, the stock types of Harlequin, Pantaloon, and 
Columbine were also worked into the show which in form was 
apparently a mixture of pantomime and burlesque, A compari- 
son of the New York and the San Francisco productions indi- 
cate that a short burlesque which served as separate curtain- 
raiser to Humpty Dumpty in New York, in San Francisco was 
somehow incorporated into the main show. George Odell, in 
his Annals of the New York Stage , has the following to say 
about Humpty Dumpty ; 

"We might have thought that the decade of 1860-70 
could not possibly produce a second run equal 
to that of The Black Crook . As a matter of 
fact, the career of Pox ' s famous pantomime, 
Humpty Dumpt y, was even longer. It saw the 
lights on March 10, 1868, and for considerably 
over a year thereafter the Olympic Theatre knev; 
neither worry nor fear of change. Humpty Dumpty 
at one time seemed immortal. ,. .The piece opened 
with the burlesque by A. Oakly Hall, In which 
Alice Harrison appeared as Burlesque, Mrs. C. 
Edmonds as Romance, and E, T. Sinclair as New 
Jersey. " 

Tony Denier, famous on the Eastern seaboard for his 

revivals of the Ravel and Martinetti pantomimes, came to San 

Francisco in the part of the clown which G.K. Pox had already 

"almost immortalized." The Bulletin for August 16, 1872, 

reviewed the opening: 

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i^lnoqo ericf ftowalvsi 

Burlesque 141 

"The Metropolitan management are certainly de- 
serving of success in their latest theatrical 
enterprise. The production of Humpty Dumpty 
required several weeks of preparation and no 
inconsiderable outlay of money, that the piece 
might appear in proper shape. Last evening the 
public of San Francisco had the first opportu- 
nity of witnessing its performance here. The 
attendance was all that could reasonably be de- 
siredj evory section of the house was crowded 
and the audience was a discriminating one. The 
principal characters represented are: Humpty 
Dumpty, afterwards clown, Tony Denier; Buckle 
my Shoe, afterwards Pantaloon, J. M. Sloan; 
Tommy Tucker , afterwards Harlequin, A. L,, Stacy; 
Goody IVo Shoes, afterwards Columbine, Mile, de 
Rhone; Burlesque, Maggie Moore; Romance, Ada 
Deaves; and New Jersey, John Woodward. The pan- 
tomime abo-unds in tricks and transformations 
that are calculated to and do provoke roars 
of laughter and keep the audience in the best 
of humor from beginning to end. Denier dances 
a hornpipe on stilts, imitates a drunken man, 
takes off the wonderful performing elephant, 
and Introduces the famous 'wooden-headed acro- 
bats. •" 

The second night of the r\in, the house was sold out 
and stools blocked the aisles. The mode of operation of the 
wooden-headed acrobats is somewhat mysterious but was evi- 
dently very successful, according to the report in the Bul- 
letin for the 17th: 

"Such roars of laughter as greeted the queer an- 
tics of the acrobats last night, are seldom 
hoard in theatres," 

The two weeks' run of Humpty Dumpty was an extraor- 
dinary triumph in this time of theatrical slump in San Fran- 
cisco. But this pantomime was no sudden discovery of a new 
means to tap the reserves of audience enthusiasm; the Cora- 
media dell 'Arte tradition, surviving feebly in the genius of 
the Martinettis, was reaching forth, in Humpty Dumpty , to one 


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Burlesque 14S 

of its last expressions. This was made still clearer In the 
last few days of the San Francisco run; acrobatic pantomime, 
and scenic tricks from the Red Gnome , the old Martinetti fa- 
vorite, were added to the production and the advertising an- 
nounced Humpty Dumpty Reconstructed --again illustrating that 
the theatre at this time was much busier wearing out the old 
forms than creating new ones. 

The midseason of 1872 and 1873 was particularly 
indicative of the unoriginality of the times. The Yellow 
Hat , a holiday burlesque at the Metropolitan, featured a 
March of the Amazons in which the Bulletin sensed "the Black 
Crook flavor"; and terminated with the customary transforma- 
tion scene, this time called "Land of Perna, or Halls of 
Dazzling Light." The completely decrepit war horse, Ixion , 
was urged on the heels of The Yellow Hat , but a single per- 
formance at the California Theatre on February 11, 1873 was 
enough to put the dusty, punning script back into the attic. 
It took the Chapman sisters to tide the interest through the 
balance of the season. 

George Odell in his A n nals of the New York Stage 
dates the discovery of Blanche Chapman's illumination very 

"Miss Chapman's star was rising: on April 5th 
and 6th (1867), in The Wandering Boys , she was 
Paul to the Justin of Miss Marion, and the 
Count de Croissey of Thompson. On April 10th, 
11th, and 12th, she was Cherry, to the Fair Star 
of Mrs, Stetson," 


wcJlI-^iA on'.' 

•d ,w. 

-•o- Qa'i 

ori .'rnis : 

Burlesque 143 

Ella, the other sister, had already made her Eastern reputa- 
tion as the "little Ella Chapinan ! '' The role of the pathetic, 
diminutive orphan in the "sensational" plays of the time had 
been her forte in Nev/ York, although she had also played a 
season of burlesque with the Vi/orrell sisters in that city. 

Blanche and Ella started off their successful San 
Francisco appearance with the burlesque Little Don Giovanni . 
For some reason the Bulletin '"- remarked that the audiences 
which the Chapmans drev/ were not only large but Intelligent, 
without indicating whether or not Little Don Giovanni offered 
particularly intellectual fare, or if perhaps this close 
packed Intelligence might not be due to the fact that the 
Chapmans were well educated, modest stars, entirely out of 
the run of yellow-haired Venuses (for which, however, there 
is not the slightest proof) . The Gold Demon followed Little 
Don Giovanni . 

"A new spectacular burlesque entitled the Gold 
Demon, was brought out at the Metropolitan last 
evening. The plot of the piece has no particu- 
lar aim or end that need bo described, but in 
substance it is an amvising medley of dialogue, 
songs, dances and ludicrous Incidents, with a 
spicing of capital local hits. The Chapman 
Sisters glitter throughoiit in gorgeous attire, 
and are the particular stars. 

"The play concludes with a dazzling transforma- 
tion scone, attended with beautiful effects of 
the calcium light ,"*"■*"" 

Aladdin or the Vlfondorful Scamp , Fluto , Beauty and 

.the. Brigands . and Cinderella, the other burlesques in the 

* March 11, 1873. 
^HJ-Bulletin, March 19, 1873 

~fc -jbii^ ati: 


Burlesque 144 

Chapman engagement at the Metropolitan, sound like a chapter 
heading in a study of early English burlesque: no startling 
new titles, no experiment. Things had to be tried and sure- 
fire. Burlesque actresses were condemned to not only scant 
but glittering attire. .'\nd the inevitable transformation 
scene disclosed, veil after veil, the headaches of expendi- 
ture necessary if the producer were to compete with the last 
peep show surprise presented to the public. 

The foregoing review of The Gold Demon indicates 
more than anything else, the decadence of plot. It also 
makes clear that with the gradual collapse of plot architec- 
ture in burlesque, a more and more disconnected variety 
developed in the material. Already in the 1870s, in enter- 
tainment like The Gold Demon , there is little distinction 
left between burlesque and vaudeville. 

About to break down into vaudeville, burlesque at 
this point was paid its highest compliment; its great dra- 
matic relative, Shakespearean comedy, began to Imitate it. 
The following quote is from Jerome Hart's In Our Second Cen - 
tury ; 

"The vast wave of legs that swept over the land 
as a result of The Black Crook craze and the 
British Blonde invasion alarmed the actresses of 
the legitimate stage, as it was then called. 
Many of these ladies, in self-defense, hadto 
doff skirts and don tights. Those of them who 
appeared in Shakespeare drama developed an inor- 
dinate fondness for A s You Like It and Twelfth 
Night . Adelaide Neilson, famed for her Juliet, 
Isabellejand Cymbeline, laid them aside for Ros- 
alind and Viola. She always drew well, but in 
these roles she drew more crowded houses . 

Burlesque 145 

"Rose Coghlan favored Viola, and drew v/ell in 
that role. She had a fine figxire, as was the 
case with most of the actresses who yielded not 
unwillingly to the leg craze. 

"Marie Wainwright manifested a liking for 
Twelfth Nig ht, and revived that play — probably 
for cvirvilinear reasons, for it has a most 
unpleasant plot. When she played Viola she was 
a ripe beauty and looked well in silk fleshings, 
but never had so becorsetted a boy trodden the 

"Helene Mod ie ska was then making her way on the 
American stage. Finding no doublet-and-hose 
parts in Adrienne Lecouvreur and other plays of 
her repertoire, she too fell back on Shakespeare 
and his girls garbed as boys," 


Dark times for burlesque, certainly. In February 

1873, Clay M. Greene, the local playwright, attempted the 

production of his burlesque. La Blonde Dormante . The Call 

for February 20 declared that 

"The local hits are palpable in some respects, 
for Emperor Norton and Chief Crowley appeared 
on the stage with wonderful fidelity in outward 
guise, though the former (J. J. i/Iurphy) had a 
marvellously powerful voice for an old man, and 
the latter (ilr, H. C. Droger) had scarcely the 
self-possession which a Chief of Police should 
display. The blonde was represented by the 
playwright, Mr. Greene, with good ability; but 
the most prominent part is that of 'Cupid' 
which was taken by Itr, Unger with an evident 
appreciation of the requirements and no small 
fitness to undertake them.'"' 

Any indication at this time, that bxirlesque can 

still be J.erked up to its old form of political satire is 

refreshing; but Clay Greene's effort did not quite come off. 

The San Francisco Nows Letter for February 22 had definitely 

made up its mind about the merits of the sleeping blonde: 





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Burlesque 14q 

"The new burlesque by Clay M. Greene was a 
wretched piece of twaddle throughout; the jokes 
were far-fetched, and the whole thing hollow. 
We do not predict for La Blonde Dormante a 
place even among third-rate burlesque." 

There was no getting away from the old English 
"burlesques; most of the songs in Green's burlesque were 
lifted from Ixlon. As for the Joking and raillery, it was 
in imitation of Emerson's minstrels. It seems that the only 
times burlesque solidified at all, it took on the dignity of 
light opera; at the other extreme Is an eclectic shapeless- 
ness headed for modem vaudeville. The ideal, in between, of 
seriously written huiiior on a well constructed satirical plot, 
with original music, somehow could not come out of the 
nineteenth century American theatre. 

The deluge of light opera companies commenced in 
1873 with the appearance of the Galton and Jennie Lee Opera 
Bouffe, Burlesque and Comedy Troupe, in productions mostly of 
opera of the Offenbach variety. Burlesques, if given, were 
usually nothing more than freely handled Offenbach. 

One of the few signposts for this clironicle in 1874 
is another of the faded revivals of The Black Crook . The 
Bulletin for A^ust 10 announced a New York company for Ma- 
guire's New Theatre. The press agent was careful to add that 
an unprecedented amount of unsurpassed Black Crook scenery 
had reached San Francisco by way of the Isthmus and the Pa- 
cific Railway, The Bulletin for the 11th, however, applied 
great quantities of cold water to this invasion by a foreign 


wj h r 

Burlesque 147 

"A season of Langrlshe and Glenn's Black Crook 
was opened at this theatre last evening. The 
material is principally an importation from the 
East, and hardly comes up to the standard of 
spectacular productions which local managers are 
accustomed to present. The Black Crook , in its 
present aspect, simply amounts to a general va- 
riety performance, through which the supposed 
dramatic narrative winds its slow length, replete 
with harrowing weariness, but not sufficiently 
connected to. engage the interest of the audi- 
ence and excuse the occasional intrusion of the 
tedious dialogue by more readily excusable 
players. . .but as a whole, the so-called variety 
business seems to be an aggregation of that or- 
der of talent of which the city usually pos- 
sesses much wealth in a state of dispersion, 
principally along Kearny street. The Black 
Crookj however, was greeted with generous pa- 
tronage, and the season opens auspiciously in 
that view," 

The shov/, still drawing crowds on August 13, came 

in for one last diatribe by the Bulletin , this time the 

proud, hollow remonstrance of a lover who has been let down: 

" The Black Crook continues to occupy the boards 
of the theatre, and attracts the attention of 
many people, but to those familiar with the 
legitimate drama or who have any theatrical 
discrimination, the performance exhibits no 
signs of improvement. Some feat\ires of the 
variety acts are acceptable, and these might be 
very entertaining if seen under other circum- 
stances ." 

These dark times for burlesque were lightened as 

much as anything by the engagement of the Yokes family. 

Jessie, Victoria, Rosina, Fred, and Pawdon Yokes opened at the 

California, August 25, in what tho Bulleti n declared to be a 

"sparkling extravaganza entitled Fun in a Fog ." The variety 

form dominated this burlesque, as all others at this time, 

the various acts and gags being built around the "trials and 


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Burlesque 148 

tribulations of an English militia officer and his valet, up- 
on whom are perpetrated sundry jokes by a trio of American 
girls."* The engagement of the Yokes was very successful. 
They were evidently able to give the public everything it 
wanted: they sang well, danced well, were accomplished acro- 
bats, and were adept at the art of "low" comedy. They stimu- 
lated, certainly, unusual enthusiasm in a very dry time. The 
Bulletin for September 1 completes the history of their San 
Francisco appearance: 

"The third sketch by the Yokes family, The Wrong 
Man in the Right Place , was produced last night, 
and excited quite as much laughter and applause 
as either of its predecessors. The efforts of 
Fred Yokes to sit down after exchanging his 
vagabond suit for black tights which are indeed 
tight, are immensely ludicrous, his burlesque 
polka is another feature which convulses the 
house; and the international quadrille, which 
closes the piece is truly a remarkable perform- 
ance. We looked in vain for anything resembling 
the plot of the VJrong Man , as given in a morning 
contemporary last Sunday'; the keenest eye could 
hardly recognize in Benjamin Buttontop a gentle- 
man engaged to a lady who does not want to have 

Throughout the 1874-1875 season Maguire's Califor- 
nia Minstrels were keeping the light of burlesque at some 
sort of glow. Otherwise there is no notice of a burlesque as 
a program in Itself until January 2, 1875 when the Bulletin 
carried a notice for Maguire's New Theatre: 

"Tonight, The Enchantress , Monday next the bur- 
lesque of Hamlet, Prince 'of Oakland , being an 
entirely reconstructed version from an Eliza- 
bethan Chronicle found in the archives of the 
Bohemian Club-room." 

* Bulletin . August 25, 1874. 

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Burlesque I49 

For a moment there is the possibility that the 
vitality of the early burlesques of Shakespearean tragedy has 
surged up again: but the stone must have been cast very 
awkwardly, for there is not the slightest ripple in the press 
after the original announcement. 

^Vhen finally in the fall season of 1875 news re- 
leases announce a burlesque by Maguire's local company, the 
public is frankly informed that the burlesque will be a "kind 
of medley made especially attractive by the introduction of 
the most popular music of the day.""'^ Variety had become a 
talking point of advantage in advertising; the plot concep- 
tion of burlesque was aLmost erased. The show was ready to 
go on, November 15. Again the Bulletin : 

"The spectacular burlesque entitled T]:b Fair One 
with the Blonde Wig will be produced this eve- 
ning... all the leading parts are studded with 
the gems of new and popular old airs. It is 
understood to be substantially the extravaganza 
which served Mrs. Jas. Dates' troupe so well in 
the East, and is now produced under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Crane, who was at that time stage 
manager of Mrs. Dates' troupe. Great attrac- 
tions are offered in the way of choruses and 
ballet. The leading parts in the hands of Miss 
Katie Mayhev/ and Messrs. Crane and Kennedy are 
safe and great expectations are entertained of 
the debut of Miss Marian Singer as 'Prince 
Leander. '" 

Mr. Crane turned out to be a talented burlesquer, 

the critics declaring that his peculiar mixture of comedy and 

grotesquerie never failed to get a response. Mr. Kennedy as 

"Princess Petipet" also came in for praise; while the debut 

of Marian Singer exhausted the bouquets of the reviewers. 

* Bulletin . November 8, 1875. 

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^..e,V8X .v8 ^orfmswoM ^nMeLlu^ '> 

Burlesque 150 

Miss Mayhew was treated with respect but it was implied that 
she was perhaps a little refined for the sturdier virtues of 
burlesque. The surprise of the performance was the introduc- 
tion of the four Allen sisters. 

"They (-the four Allen sisters) danced like fair- 
ies, and won the heartiest applause of the eve- 

That the performance was good but cold is charitably indicated 
by the closing statement of the B^xlletin review for Novem- 
ber 15: 

"A little more abandon on the part of the lead- 
ing ladies will doubtless come as they become 
accustomed to the business*" 

Despite the limitations mentioned by the press. 
The Fair One with the Blonde Wig played until December 4. 
Acts were constantly added or withdrawn; the personnel of the 
company was very fluid » Whatever the plot of the blonde - 
wigged beauty on the opening night (the plot is never men- 
tioned in the press) , it could not have been recognized three 
nights later. These pages from the life of a Lydia Thompson 
chorine (which may have been the original idea) were given 
their last embellishment in the person of "little Mile. 
Schuman" who was announced as a "charming exhibition of 
infantile grace."'"""' Prom hor first appearance through the 
end of the run Mile. Schuman dominated the reviews. She is 
"exquisitely graceful, "••^•"** slie is "evidently working hard to 

'"- Bulletin , November 16, 1875. 
'-^■» Ibid. November 19, 1875. 
-x-sfr*lbid. November 24, 1875, 

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Burlesque 151 

perfect herself in her art"'^ cp she dances "a sailor's 
dance, in costume, with the grace of a veritable sylph. "''^* 

Changes in the company itself were accompanied by 
daily excisions and additions in the script. The "local hits" 
necessarily changed as rapidly as the local scene and at one 
time achieved a penetration that was oven rasping, according 
to an unusually delicate reaction on the part of the Bulletin . 
The music, that the original advertising might be fulfilled, 
was refurbished December 1 to an up-to-the-minute popularity. 
As for the n\irsery rhymes (an effect from the Mother Goose 
pantomimes) they were no doubt recoupleted nightly at the 
whim of any rhymester in the company. The Fair One with the 
Blond Wig , success as it was, turned up on closing night, 
December 4, in unrecognizable garb. 

But the three weeks' run had firmly intrenched the 
local burlesquers. Another production, the extravaganza of 
Fortunio or The Seven Gifted Servants , was annovmced for De- 
cember 24. By way of shining up the company, the Lenton fam- 
ily of acrobats, and Mr. and Mrs. George Ware, "serio-comic" 
vocalists, were engaged. The first notice of this production 
appears in the Bulletin for December 27, 1875: 

"The whole company (at Maguire's New Theatre) 
has improved surprisingly since their first 
appearance in burlesque some weeks ago. The 
constraint and awkwardness have worn off , and in 
both action and speech the extravagant fancies 
of the author are realized." 

* Bulletin , November 24, 1875. 
**ibid. December 1, 1875. 

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.A^t»SiJ.i.ijO*I fgfijf : •XVllX^.iil'^ ->iiJ Jl<^ 

Burlesque 152 

With a certain amount of provincial preoccupation 
with the greener fields of the Eastern theatres, the Bulletin 
for December 28 prints the last notice of this local bur- 
lesque troupe: 

"This company has reached a degree of excellence 
in burlesque v/hich warrants comparison with the 
great burlesque traveling troupes. The spirit 
of fun and Jollity pervades the whole perform- 
ance. The Lenton boys are without question the 
star performers of tho day. All their feats 
are performed with a grace, care, and accuracy 
which is a relief when contrasted v;ith other 
lads of their age. During the entertainment, 
Mr. and Mrs. Ware sang a character song." 

Again, as with The Fair One with the Blonde Wig , 
there is a conspicuous absence in these reports of Fortunio 
of any awareness of plot. The structure of burlesque has by 
this time completely fallen; is obviously of no more impor- 
tance than the crating lumber (now heaped backstage out of 
the way) which encased the dazzling scenery of The Black 
Crook , from New York to San Francisco by way of the Isthmus. 

The spring of 1876 belongs to the V/orrell Sisters. 
Not newcomers, certainly; they had learned the fundamentals 
of burlesque comedy at Gilbert's old melodeon on the corner 
of Clay and Kearny streets. Irene, Sophie, and Jenny — and 
their competition at Gilbert's in the old days Included the 
already firm star of Lotta Crabtroo. In fact, both Jennie 
and Lotta were bitterly proficient on the banjo, and they ac- 
tually pushed each other about the Melodeon stage. New York 
City had then come very much into tho stride of tho Worrells ♦ 

S?,£ 9; 

■ C»CffTTS0OC 

hfieix>i- -'natTwnr> pJt' , " 

lo oi. 

Burlesque 153 

The first note about them in the Annals of the New 

York Stage by Odell is for the year 1865: 

"The vivacious Worrell Sisters, grand-daughters 
of I.'Ime. Judah, once famous in the minor New 
York theatres, and forever beloved in Califor- 
nia, made their debut at V/ood's on April 30th, 
in the piece long celebrated at Laura Keene's 
under the name of The Slves, or the Statue 
Bride • . . . " 

"The piece and the youthful freshness of the 
stars caught popular fancy, and no change of 
main piece was required for several weeks. 
During the first week, Jennie Vforrell appeared 
in the afterpiece of The Good for Nothing ; in 
this she introduced her breakdown, the Essence 
of Old Virginia . On May 10th, Crossing the 
Line , as curta'in raiser, allowed' Irene and 
Jennie to do a double clog. The Three Sisters , 
on June 18th, presented Jennie, Irene and Sophie 
Viforrell, each in six different characters." 

A succession of three benefit performances, one for each of 
the sisters, closed their first New York engagement in Au- 
gust. On January 14, 1867 the "'orrslls appear again in 
Odell 's Annals of the New York Stage , this time in their pro- 
duction of Camaralzaman and Badoura . Odell 's addenda to his 
review of Camaralzaman are illuminating: 

"Jennie Worrell was also seen as Susy, in Out to 
Nurse , in which she introduced a cobbler ' s horn- 
pipe and a banjo solo; a fact vdiich I introduce 
to show that Lotta was not alone in the art of 
the banjo when she flashed across our vision a 
few months later at Wallack' s. . . .On the 31st the 
advertisement in the Herald stresses Sophie and 
Irene in duets and operatic gens; Jennie in a 
clog-dance; Sophie, Jennie, Mrs. Gilbert and 
Donnelly in the Cure dance, 'received with 
shouts of applause aiid nightly encores'; and 
Mrs. Gilbert in her comic dance. Mrs. Gilbert 
in her Stage Reminiscences bears tribute to the 
Worrells. They v/ere, she says, 'groat favour- 
ites, in their day, and simple, kindly people 


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Burlesque 154 

to work with. I remember that thoy let me in- 
troduce a dance (in Aladdin ) that attracted a 
good deal of attention; and yet dancing was 
their own specialtyt One does not have to be 
In the profession to know v;hat that means.'" 

San Francisco was hardly excited about the reap- 
pearance of the old Melodeon favorites. The Worrells opened 
at Wade's Opera House, March 27, 1875, in the overworked bur- 
lesque, Ixion. Of Jennie, no mention whatsoever is made. 
Irene was found "too cold and quiet for burlesque, and her 
voice lacks power and her style expression."* Sophie came 
off a little better, the critics deciding that her lifeless 
acting derived from deficiencies in the supporting cast. 
Despite this cold approach, an advertisement in the Bulletin 
for April 3 extends the run of Ixion for another week. The 
original production v/as by this time transformed. For the 
closing week the Perranti Brothers were engaged to exhibit 
their now inexplicable acrobatic art of "leg-mania",* and as 
if this were not sufficient stimulation for the public during 
the last performances, the advertisement quietly added that 
the ballet troupe had worked out a number of intriguing 
changes in its routine. 

The last burlesque included in the San Francisco 
engagement of the Worrells was again an old s tand-by , Black - 
Eyed Susan . As climax to the production, the ballet was to 
appear in a grand tableau entitled T he Sailor's Dream . Some- 
how as a grand climax, no doubt, to the climax, the press vas 

-^ Bulletin , March 28, 1876. 


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^ ' u» eXcf • 

.9V8I ^Ba . : adaXXi/ a «>- 

Burlesque 155 

further informed that twenty-four young ladies in sailor cos- 
tume would appear in a tremendous, centennial parade to the 
tune of the "March of the Sixty-ninth." The Bulletin for 
April 11 uses this production of Black-Eyed Susan for some 
heavy handed generalizations about the state of burlesque: 

"The burlesque of Black-Byed Susan is a very 
charming arrangement of new and popular songs 
and dances with just enough of the story to 
flavor the scenes. The company is improving in 
burlesque, a fact the less to be rejoiced at, 
as this theatre has given us a surfeit of that 
kind of amusement. The Black Crook leg drama 
which took so vi,^onderfully In New York years ago, 
and has had glimpses of success in this city, 
is now thoroughly'- distasteful to people of all 
classes. Now that decent drama has become a 
novelty, especially at this theatre, the people 
demand it. Nothing can be more monotonous than 
the sai:ie old dreary show of limbs, under one 
pretsnse or another, in ballet or burlesque 
with all the variations that a fixed purpose to 
present a half nude exhibition can suggest. 
ViThatever attraction this kind of variety busi- 
ness may once have possessed is now worn off by 
satiety. There is no possible success in it, 
and the so one?.-' the management wakes up to this 
fact the better. The most gorgeous scenery, 
the most illusory dressing, and the most lan- 
guishing daiices, fail to awaken even a passing 

With this thorough indictment in their ears, the 

Worrell sisters closed their San Francisco engagement. 

The fall season of 1876 played safe with the in- 
dictment the press had given the "leg- show" burlesque of the 
Worrell Sisters; the season was dominated by a M other Goose 
pantomime spectacle called Jack and Jill . This of course be- 
ing a ro-undabout and apparently unimpeachable way of intro- 
ducing the inevitable ballet of chorines. 


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■■-•■:-^h.:^'7 ' '': '■ '■ ■' 'Lriacloniiqtnliisj 'z^.i noikqqB - . . ..:... . ^' ■■^^- ■ 

Burlesque 156 

This was the sort of burlesque that had become ac- 
cepted as Cliristmas holiday entertainment and there was some 
surprise in to\vn when the show opened in September at the 
Grand Opera House. But it was evidently a delightful produc- 
tion and the house was crowded through the whole run, Sep- 
tember 4 to October 8» 

Much was reported of the opening scene. It was the 
home of the Ice King: silver costumes and eerily lighted ice 
formations. Above the cotton-banked snov/drifts the aurora 
borealis played intermittently. And then came the startling 
shift, the thrill of spectacle: with the manipulation of 
wall panels and cellar traps, with the rise and fall of great 
quantities of gauze curtains, the chilling home of the Ice 
King had become a friendly, heart warming village protected 
by green hills. It was all the idea of William Voegtlin who 
was considered the best of scenic designers in San Francisco. 
His also was the glorious unreserve of the final transforma- 
tion scene in which, by a series of violent scene shifts, the 
four seasons pay homage to the sun god. The entire company 
then blazed forth in the customary final tableau. The Bul - 
letin for September 5, 1876 casts little light on the actual 
story thread of the spectacle : 

"The pantomime apart from its spectacular fea- 
tures, is full of rapid incident, and the part 
of the clown was taken with much success byTbny 
Denier, the successor of the Great Pox. His 
aids were J. M. Sloan as 'Pantaloon,' James Don- 
ald as 'Harlequin,' and Miss Annie Reed as 'Col- 
umbine.' There is also a ballet and musical 
interlude . " 


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.-jBol tfiXirnsdosii- • 

Burlesque 157 

Newspaper notices throughout the rest of the run of 
Jack and Jill gradually illvuninate the content of the show. 
Again, as with "leg show" burlesque, pantomime seems to have 
reached such a disorganized, disconnected state that it ia 
almost vaudeville. On September 6 the Bulletin mentions, as 
one of the features of the entertainment, "the sorio-comic 
songs of little Mimi Midget, a veritable infant phenomenon." 
In this same review the Wood Family, "three admirably designed 
puppets," were declared to be excessively funny. On Septem- 
ber 19 the Bulletin remarks that Jack and Jill "constantly 
presents a new face to those who had seen it a little while 
before." The changes on the 19th were the appearance of new 
comedians, Casslm and Fritz, as harlequin and sprite; and the 
introduction into the show of the Royal Prussian Band. On 
September 20, 1876 it is announced that "Herr. J. Weiffenbach 
will play on sixteen txined harmony dr\ims at once." A new 
masterpiece by the artist Voegtlin was the last, crowning 
attraction of the show: 

"Mr. Voegtlin 's grand tableau descriptive of the 
'Battle of Bunker Hill' is one of the finest 
effects ever produced on the stage. In some 
respects it excels the 'Battle of Agincourt' 
tableau which was the principal attraction of 
the spectacle of Henry V . The group is designed 
to make conspicuous the fall of General 
Warren, and the living figures blend so natu- 
rally into the canvas that for a moment the 
observer is puzzled to decide where one com- 
mences and the other ends. The other novelty 
of the sixteen drums is simply a novelty and a 
curiosity. Miss Annie Reed is rapidly improv- 
ing as ' Coltimbine . ' As this young girl has ris- 
en from the ranks by her talent and attention 



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grid 1x3 ov : .;: ?r.><>X'<A--t ^fTfl^ B'nIXigdoV.iM" 


Burlesque 158 

to business, her progress is watched v/ith more 
than ordinary Interest. Miss Gertie Granville's 
song, 'Robin Tell Kitty,' is sung with admira- 
ble expression."^'* 

A run of four weeks established Jack and Jill as 
the only success of the fall season. The golden rain which 
descended upon the final transformation scene, and which the 
Bulletin admitted was "one of the finest effects ever pro- 
duced on the stage," would no doubt for a long time fall viv- 
idly in the memories of most of the theatre-goers in town. 
It is fairly certain that, at a time when experience in the 
theatre no longer hinged upon the tension and resolution of 
a situation or the sudden illumination of the right word, but 
upon a progressive series of grand effects, the last effect 
of the golden rain would dominate the memories of the Jack 
and Jill audience \mtil the still moro golden rain of the 
next spectacle obliterated it. 

The low estate of burlesque at this time is illus- 
trated by the old chain of burlesque titles from which the 
entertainment of the year 1877 was suspended: January tried 
to make an alluring flash of such skin-and-bone vehicles as 
Kenilworth, Chilperic ,and Lucrezia 3orgia ; December confessed 
sterility v/ith another revival of The Black Crook . The 
few new titles. Patchwork , The Brook , and Our Politics , in 
no way propped up the decadent form of burlesque; merely in 

-"- Bulletin, September 21, 1876. 

©rf ;* rfr^ 


•.loqif L'- 

*d_ Jjt;jiii£>j'li.Uv, uJ,»JijJ ji.'4i- :i^'5j: 

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■ ■^ ^'J'/rrvj^t r ?• rff^ r/-f<vrtt»i T ^ r*«»"VT 

Burlesque 159 

fact, induced nostalgia for the old days, the old personali- 

The revivals of Kenilworth and Chilperic at the 
Grand Opera House served to introduce the Deauclerc Sisters 
to San Francisco. Little, evidently, v;as expected of them 
according to the Bulletin for January 16, 1877: 

"Miss Katy Mayhew's chaste and charming stylo 
of burlesque we are all familiar with, hut the 
brightness of the Beauclerc Sisters rather took 
the audience by surprise*" 

Patchwork and The Brook , pre son ted at the Bush Street 

Theatre in April and early May, by the Salisbury Troubadours, 

were the most definite successes of the year. 

"Everybody was waiting for the brilliant piece 
of Patchwork . The extravaganza was richer in 
business than the Vokes Family's Belles in the 
Kitchen , and is acted with wonderful spirit. 
'The 'Take You In, ' nursery rhymes are a series 
of happy hits and bring down the house, while 
the rehearsal of the closet scene in Hamlet 
fairly exhausts the audience with laughter."* 

" The Brook is even a greater success than Patch - 
work. It is one of those fresh, breezy and thor- 
oughly bright entertainments that create an at- 
mosphere with which the audience is enthused in 
spite of themselves. Perhaps the gem of the 
evening was Mr. Salisbury's Seven Ages of Man. 
It was absolutely a new revelation to those who 
are accustomed to hear that choice morsel of 
philosophy recited on the stage •"*'^*''" 

Our Politics , written by a certain Edward Willett 
of St. Louis, opened at the California Theatre, August 13. 
Hallelujahs should have resounded in the press for this at- 
tempt at serious use of the burlesque form. The Bulletin was 
more inclined to react in the following manner: 

'"' Bulletin , April 13, 1877. 
*^^Ibid. April 30, 1877. 

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'.-'■'-.V-i. ■'.•f,.T',-?-'<-*>.ir ■ r '-■■:-**'-- ■ ;' >-• 

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■ ■ ■ . '•• .-■;■. ;;*^ 

Burlesque 150 

"We cannot v/ish success to such a travesty on 
American morals and manners, nor to play-writ- 
ers who aim to rise to notice by such means. "■>"■ 

I'he morals and manners travestied were those of the 

United States Senate. Senator ShuiTle, the chief character, 

was overdrawn, according to the Bulletin , "in the spirit 

which prostitutes truth, propriety, national pride, and 

patriotic sentiment to the chance of making a few dollars . " 

There is no assurance that Mr. Willett made any money from 

the one-week's run of Our Politics in San Prancisco;at least, 

his ideas seem to have been intelligently presented: 

"The play was remarkably well-performed for a 
first representation. Mr. Bishop accepted the 
character of 'Senator Shuffle' as drawn in all 
its vulgar broadness, its open duplicity, its 
shallow cunning, and its undisguised venality. 
He made a strong stage character, stronger per- 
haps than the author intended, and really con- 
trived to retain enough of the sympathy of the 
audience to cause manifestations of approval 
when he v/as finally saved from ruin. It was 
probably the touch of burlesque in the charac- 
ter, the evident lack of earnestness and sincer- 
ity in the actor, which enabled the defeated 
'Senator' to retain a place in the affections 
of the audience. A rather vmcertain but other- 
wise satisfactory part, 'John Quincy Bunn' was 
given to Vifilliam Seymour, and very neatly por- 
trayed. He did not in the least carry out the 
popular idea of the men who make fortunes in the 
sagebrush region, being more of a clever draw- 
ing-room fop than a frontiersman* Mr.Mestayer, 
as 'General Napoleon Cubit,' evidently had a 
distinguished Eastern politician in the mind's 
eye when he designed his make-up* Mr. Curtis 
as 'Blossom,' took the burlesque view of his 
character and made his two scenes amusing."* 

* Bulletin, August 14, 1877. 

f'w ■ ■ - »■' 

<u u'j.i:i '^Juif.«fi«i.>~^AA<^9 .'A&ji'i-,^ 

'. rxi'-A^X .:^iur5.c/A. 

Burlesque 161 

Unfortunate that details of the action are not giv- 
en in the reviews, and that a copy of the script is not avail- 
able. Our Politics is one of the few early Instances of vig- 
orous political satire. But neither audience nor playwrights 
were prepared to go further in this satirical direction. The 
San Francisco theatrical season dipped violently in the fall 
of 1877 to the safe, old, empty puns of Black-Eyed Susan . 

Black-Eyed Susan's much disturbed corpse was shuf- 
fled off unceremoniously after a short run to make room for 
the still more exploited ghost of The Black Crook . Develop- 
ment of some kind, there had beenj for the leg show aspects 
of The Black Crook were now considered quite dull. The sen- 
sation of the previous decade in Maguire's heyday was now, in 
1877, served up as warmed-over good cheer for both children 
and adults during the holidays in December. With very little 
else to commend the production, the ballet troupe proved to 
be especially fine. 

"The ballet under the lead of Miles. Palladino, 
de Rosa and Corsi appear in the second and third 
acts, giving in the first 'The Demons' Revels,' 
and in the last 'The Ballet of All Nations.' 
This ballet troupe became in a measure familiar 
to the public at the Bush Street Theatre, but 
the larger stage at the California permits a 
much finer display of art. The third act closes 
with an intricate and bewildering 'March of the 
Amazons,' in which the effect of shades of 
light upon shining costumes vas almost dazzling. 
The tableau at the close was exceedingly beau- 
tiful. The scenery was by Voegtlin, Seabury 
and Graham, each act having a crowning feature. 
It is not very easy to say which is the most 
striking, but the transformation scene, enti- 
tled 'The Birth of Venus,' excelled all other 

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1 . -^ivriJ^i- XU Ic. :*c>Xif5n enT^ :t«>iXv^:: 

Burlesque 162 

scenes of its kind ever seen in this city. As 
one curtain of gauze after another was lifted, 
each revealing the brilliant interior more dis- 
tinctly, the audience seemed to hold their 
breath and live only through their eyes.''* 

To keep the show moving, the story of v/hich, accord- 
ing to the Bulletin , was "not very tangible at best, and was 
sometimes completely lost siglit of," the usual assortment of 
short variety acts was interpolated. Of the whole number 
the only acts that achieved the passing fame of newspaper no- 
tice were the singing of the Ulm Sisters and the gymnastic 
feats of the Valdis Sisters; and of those, the contortions of 
the Valdis Sisters apparently outweighed in effect the songs 
of their competitors: 

"The Valdis Sisters are half-grovm girls, and 
are as supple and as elastic as if their bones 
were made of gutta percha. They twist them- 
selves into all sorts of shapes, and are as 
graceful in all their movements as a dancer."* 

With The Black Crook running inevitably, quietly, 

successfully into the second week of January 1878, Voegtlin, 

the scenic designer, was hurriedly painting the decorations 

for A Trip to the Moon , announced for January 21, at the 

California. After his long service in the interest of 

extravaganza backdrops, Voegtlin by this time must have been 

tearing his hair trying to achieve that new effect which moist 

either be the "most splendid so far seen in this city" or 

else be regarded as a dull failure. Iho year 1877 closes, 

and since words and acting were no longer important in the 

* Bulletin, December 26, 1877. 

«•»'". ' * ' ■ .;; ■• 

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Burlesque 163 

production of burlesque, the success or failure of this 
medium now depended on the imagination. 


A Trip to the Moon was as well plotted a burlesque 

as had come to San Francisco in a long time. 

"Tlie story is that of King Pin Virho desirous of 
granting every caprice of his son Prince Ca- 
price, arranges with 'Microscope' to be shot 
through a monstrous cannon to the moon. The 
first act closes with the party entering the 
cannon, which is fired off. Tlie second act 
opens with a group of Inhabitants artiong whom 
arrive the party from the earth. King Cosmos 
of the moon has a daughter of about the same 
age and general Inclination as 'Prince Caprice' 
and the two proceed to make much trouble for 
their respective fathers. The business is in 
true burlesque style. ""^ 

The source of the script of this btirlesque is not 

clear but the influence of Jules Verne, so evident in the 

summary quoted above, is confirmed by some remarks in the 

Argonaut for January 26, 1878: 

"As it { A Trip to the Moon ) stands it is a ser- 
vile translation from the French, and much of 
the sparkle and verve , which I can xmderstand 
it may have possessed in the original, has ob- 
viously been lost in the translation. So heavy 
and dreary is the dialogue, that it is only 
by a constant fusillade of 'gags ' from the 
dramatic personal (sic) that attention can be 
kept awal-ce at all. Indeed I was told that the 
original parts were so bad that unlimited li- 
cense was given to the ladies and gentlemen to 
v/hom they were entrusted, a license of which I 
am bound to say they availed themselves not al- 
ways wisely, but a little too well." 

There was a completely stellar approach to the pro- 
duction, in the casting as well as the writing. It was not 

* Bulletin . January 22, 1878. 

; :■•f,,&ti.y.^^,.^Q.iSi).l:B_l;lhO. 'io aolsoubjiq 

srfct r:I sjiT'*"" rrf ^c'^*'b•:cp.,.8l . ,t9vocfB Jbelovp •^iB/amua 

■eci. ;: 

Burlesque 164 

enough that Alice Harrison should exhibit her great ability 
at burlesque immediately before the proscenium; she was sup- 
ported in the upper reaches of the stage by the famous Kiralfy 
ballet troupe. Bolossy Kiralfy, however, missed out on his 
usual praise, and received only tepid comparisons with The 
Black Crook for his ballet direction; while Alice Harrison 
served only as a reminder to the reviewers of the virtues of 
a newcomer. The newcomer was Grace Plalsted: 

"A young debutante (I am told she is only seven- 
teen) named Grace Plaisted, was to me an object 
of quite as much interest as all the other cu- 
riosities of lunar life and interstellar space 
put together. The young lady ass\iraes the part 
of a Setanite princess, and her duties are 
chiefly vocal in their character, though the 
role permits of a considerable amount of a 
certain kind of comedy acting. I have seen 
debutantes, --they seem to grow spontaneously 
on California soil —but I have never seen a 
first appearance at the footlights character- 
ized by an utter absence of stage-fright and by 
as complete self-possession as v/as hers. Even 
Alice Harrison, who was evidently triximphant at 
finding herself in proximity to somebody small- 
er than herself, was nonplussed by her compo- 
sure. The little lady ogled and flirted, gagged 
and dimpled with the best of them."'^ 

Voegtlin, evidently, had not been able to adjust 

himself rapidly enough from the background effects of The 

Battle of Bunker Hill to the background effects of A Trip 

to the Moon ; 

"The scenery, which is of course, the basis of 
every spectacle, is good, but I have seen bet- 
ter from Voegtlin' s brush, and its mounting 
bears evidence of haste in preparation. The 
twenty-mile cannon was a fine effect, but the 
penny-popgun report with which it was discharged 

* Argonaut , January 26, 1878. 


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Burlesque 165 

was simply ludicrous. The transformation scene 
representing the journey of the airship through 
interstellar space, was a wonderful illusion, 
and the enlarged photograph of the moon waxing 
and waning as the observer was supposed to ap- 
proach or recede from it, was an interesting and 
well managed optical effect*''''^ 

With these vague effects of A Trip to the Moon even 
more vaguely remembered, the slow spring season of 1878 
pushed forward to a combination entertainment at the Bush 
Street Theatre: Madame Rentz's Female Minstrels opened the 
performances; Mabel Santley's London Burlesque Troupe con- 
tinued them, with first a number of variety acts, and lastly, 
a crowning burlesque. In the beginning of the run, which com- 
menced January 27, The Forty Thieves was the featured bur- 
lesque; February 11, the long-suffering Ixion was again 
hauled out for tortured exhibition. 

The actual performances, from all reports, might 
well be permitted to vanish as thoroughly as the hill snow 
in the spring of 1878, except that Mabel Santley will figure 
in the local courts in 1879 on a charge of excessive 
exhibitionism; and that M. B, Leavitt was the manager of both 
the Rentz and Santley companies. Mabel Santley in court will 
furnish amusement in a later chapter of this chronicle. M.B, 
Leavitt will come to dominate the whole later history of 
modern burlesque as the title of his autobiography. Fifty 
Years in Theatrical Management , published in 1912, indicates* 

* Argonaut , January 25, 1878. 

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Burlesque 166 

Leavitt starts off by admitting that he is "credit- 
ed with being the originator of the first organization combin- 
ing minstrelsy, vaudeville, and burlesque in one entertain- 
ment." He outlines his revolutionary idea as follows: the 
old idea of minstrelsy, consisting entirely of males, should 
be renovated by the addition of "beautiful, talented actress- 
es," Slight as this change appears to be, in words, it does 
actually represent the first conscious synthesis of the nine- 
teenth centxiry of minstrelsy, vaudeville, and burlesque in the 
direction of the twentieth century musical show, Leavitt 
makes this clear: "Those (productions) I staged then, were 
equivalent to the Broadway musical shows of today, though not 
upon so elaborate a scale, but the artists were fully as 

The oxcellonco of his traveling companies was much 
in question in 1878, and his San Francisco season would have 
collapsed early and expensively if the Bulletin had not lev- 
eled a puritanical finger at the degree of xindress in the 

"The costuming of three or four in The Forty 
Thieves was an insult to the audience. Ladies 
who were present, under the supposition that it 
was a decent performance, sat, mortified and 
indignant, deterred from going out, only by a 
dread of advertising their presence. Nothing 
so thoroughly and suggestively indecent has ev- 
er beon presented at a theatre in this city to 
which ladies were invited. It was a pleasure 
to note that a large portion of the men in the 
audience turned their backs on the performance 
and walked out."* 

* Bulletin , January 30, 1878. 

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Btirlesque 167 

The result of the press attack was of course a suc- 
cessful run; the Rentz-Santley* combination packed the Bush 
Street Theatre well into the last week of February. Betsy B., 
the critic of the Argonaut , attempted sophisticated indiffer- 
ence in the issue of that paper for February 9, 1878: 

"Tell it not in San Jose, but I have been to see 
the Madame Rentz Female Minstrels. The perform- 
ance is not very naughty ^ nor is it very nice. 
There is just one shapely woman in a remarkable 
undress, who concentrates the attention of the 
masculines present. She wears tights and a 
street hat, and is as quiet, dignified, and 
self-possessed as Mary's little lamb. No dash, 
no specialty, but her perfect shape and a pen- 
chant for singing the 'Sweet Bye and Bye.' 
When we got home that night I questioned Jack 
as to the attraction of such a performance to 
the average man, especially to married ones. 
He wouldn't admit that there was any attraction. 
'But what fills the house and blocks the aisles 
and keeps that row of callow youth, leaning 
against the semi-circular wall?' 'Some sort of 
a morbid impulse,' he replied," 

The Bulletin for February 20 took a parting shot 
at the M. B. Leavitt's Bush Street speculators in morbid re- 

"This house {the Bush Street Theatre) is now 
relegated to the class of theatres which cator 
to masculine tastes exclusively. That there 
are people who like the can-can as danced by 
the burlosquo troupe is demonstrated by tho 
largo attendance on Monday and Tuesday nights." 

Information about the Rontz-Santloy troupe for 1878 

disappears with this last quoted notice of the Bulletin . This 

notice, however, makes it clear that the silence of the 

press was made up for by tho applause of packed houses for 

the duration of the company's rtin. 

* See Minstrelsy . Vol, XIII this series. 



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Burlesque ^.ee 

On March 25 the Bulletin announced that a complete 
pantomime troupe, "the delight of young people," would take 
possession of the Bush Street Ther.tre. While the town is 
making its violent adjustment from the scandalous de'^collete'' 
of the Rentz-Santley troupe to the fully clothed innocence of 
Mother Goose pantomime, this chronicle chooses to review one 
of the many essays about the decline of pantomime which ap- 
peared about this time. 

The article is entitled just so: "The Decline of 
Pantomime" which appeared in Theatre (February 1, 1882), a 
magazine published in London: 

"It is true that Mr. Tennyson, speaking (in his 
sonnet to Macready) of 'brainless pantomime,' 
refers to 'those gilt gauds men-chlidren swarm 
to see'; and it would also seem, both from the 
attendance at our theatres and from the charac- 
ter of the entertainment there provided, that 
it is the taste of such 'men-children' that is 
largely regarded by the managers. Ostensibly, 
however, pantomimes are chiefly for the young- 
sters, and for those of tholr parents and 
guardians who accompany them to the theatre. 
They ought to be such as young people can wit- 
ness not only with pleasure but without harm, 
and thoy ought to be such as their elders can 
witness, not only with toleration, but without 
reprobation. Tho question is: Is this so? Do 
modern pantomimes tend either to real amusement 
or genuine edification?. . .There would not, how- 
ever, be so much objection to adhering to the 
old familiar nursery tales, if those tales were 
only treated by librettists and managers in a 
becoming spirit. I write in the interests of 
the children. Adults may not, in every case, 
object greatly to the modifications introduced 
into the separate legends or the amalgamation 
of several legends into one. Both offices might 
be performed ingeniously, and with a certain 



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proportion of grotesque effect. As a matter of 
fact, however there Is as a rule, no Ingenuity, 
and grotesqueness in the matter. Either a leg- 
end is taken and 'adorned' by the 'original' 
fancies of the author, or it is muddled up with 
one, two, or three others as the case may be, 
in a manner which is merely -unintelligible and 
irritating. And if these processes are dis- 
tasteful to the adult, who has no great inter- 
est in the affair one way or another, how singu- 
larly disagreeable they must be to the young 
imagination of our boys and girls, for whom 
Dick Whittington, Aladdin, Red Riding Hood, and 
Bo-Peep, are almost as real and vivid as their 
own relations. Such stories as those of Dick 
Whittington and Aladdin are usually followed 
with some respect for the original; but let a 
pantomime writer get hold of 'Robinson Crusoe,' 
for example, and what a hash he too frequently 
contrives of it," 

The balance of this article lays the whole decline 
of pantomime to the intrusion of music hall elements. In its 
prudish, English way, the article is merely harping on the 
fact that even the apparently unassailable symbols of Mother 
Goose pantomime, the apparently eternal tradition of Harle- 
quin and his cohort of supporting characters, were breaking 
down, like burlesque itself, into music hall variety. 

A remark about the art of pantomime: 

"Pantomime is now represented mainly, at any 
rate, for there are a few good pantomimists 
living, by troupes of contortionists of the 
Girard sort, people who only frighten the chil- 
dren out of their wits and make them anxious to 
get home,"'^ 

and a brief discussion of ballet and transformation scene, 

closes this English survey: 

%> Theatre (London) Pebrviary 1, 1882 Article on"The Decline of 
Pantomime . " 

691 Bx/pseXro/e: 

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Burlesque 170 

"As a rule how meaningless, how utterly devoid 
of connection with the story, is this part (the 
ballet) of a pantomime performance. It is 
dragged in vi et armis, and has rarely even the 
merit of intrinsic grace. Something might be 
said, too, as to the monotonous character of 
the annual transformation scene, which has so 
little connection with the story as the ballet, 
and into which scenic artists appear afraid to 
import the slightest element of originality. 
When, I wonder, shall we see the last of the 
unfortunate strapped-up ' fairies' t"^*- 

The San Francisco Argonaut for March 30, 1878 
bears out all the contentions of its English contemporary. 
The Nick Roberts Company started off at the Bush Street Thea- 
tre traditionally enough with a pantomime entitled Humpty 
Dunipty . Mother Goose , hov/ever, had barely established her 
identity before the footlights when, with the slippery rapid- 
ity of Proteus, all was changed: 

"Columbine takes off her petticoats and puts on 
a gymnastic costume to give an act on the slack 
wire J the fairy queen sheds her spangles and 
gives a Negro minstrel song and dance, and a 
remarkable dance it is; the magic doors and 
windows and signs stop clanging, while the 
clown gives a drunken performance on stilts." 

The clown of the company called himself after the 

famous progenitor of all English-speaking clowns, Grimaldi,^>'^' 

and considering the eulogies of the local press, there is 

possibility that he was one of Grimaldl » s worthier successors. 

But the great prototype loomed too large to be supplanted by 

an imitator. Only some new and divergent conception of the 

-:(• Theatre (London) February 1, 1882 Article on "The Decline 

of Pantomime , " 
^HKJrimaldl, Joseph. (1779-1837). An English clown and 

comedian of Italian parentage. 

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Burlesque 171 

clown role could supplant Grimaldi as he had supplanted Har- 
lequin in England. 

''His (Harlequin's) reign as a hero might have 
continued up to the present, but for the ap- 
pearance of a clown so funny, so irresistibly, 
abnormally, deliriously funny, that Harlequin 
was overlooked and forever relegated to dumbness 
and the background. It is said that Joey 
Grimaldi really made pantomime in England. Be- 
fore his time it was generally a stop-gap for 
dull seasons, and was mostly interpreted by 
foreigners . After he made his name immortal in 
Dibbin's Mother Goose , it became a national 
institution^ and its great star stood as high 
in his way as Lord Byron and Sheridan did in 
theirs. "^ 

The dethroned and defrocked transformation of the 

clown symbol of Grimaldi by the year 1878 is described in a 

notice in the Bulletin , April 4, It is the last press notice 

given the Nick Roberts Company, and its brevity contains 

(perhaps only at this distance) a laconic penetration into 

the fate of the pantomimic art: 

"The clown is remarkably clever both as a panto- 
mimist and variety actor." 

The rest of 1878, right through to the new year, 
belongs, as far as burlesque is concerned, to Edward E. Rice. 
That is, except for small competition by the Salsbury"""* 
Troubadours in May. The troupe's reappearance at the Baldwin 
Theatre in the old piece called Patchwork followed a brief 

-::- Argonaut , January 2, 1893. 

--"«-Some times spelt "Salisbury or Saulsbury." 

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Burlesque 172 

season in Australia where, according to the Argonaut for May 

4; 1878 they had failed to shine: 

''You would think they would have picked up some- 
thing new in Australia > But, no. Miss McHenry 
still sings 'Pretty as a Picture, 'which she has 
elaborated to an almost painful extent. Also, 
she has a new patchwork dress, which is extreme- 
ly pretty. She is call patchwork now, from her 
headdress down to her ceramic stockings and lit- 
tle shoes, for McHenry has a pretty foot. 
Blanche Correlli's voice seems richer and full- 
er than when she went away . " 

Prom this unstimulated inventory of Salshury's assets, Betsy 

B, of the Argonaut proceeds to put down the first record of 

the brunette rediviva ; 

"It is worthy of mention that Mile .Correlli al- 
so has a new dress, a very gorgeous affair of 
white and silver, which against the dead black 
of her hair and eyes, is extremely becoming. I 
do not wonder that brunettes are coming in style 
again. I for one, am sick to death of the piles 
of yellow jute, so popular on the stage." 

Salsbury himself, in the same review, is almost 
etched into a personality, only to fade out again from theat- 
rical annals, misused, no doubt, and unappreciated: 

''Salsbury is a degree more tragic than when he 
went away. His resemblance to Barrett has in- 
creased if anything. Possibly he will develop 
into a tragedian when the Troubadour Combination 
falls to pieces, and he has enough to start on 
to give him hopes of success," 

With the Salsbury troupe so hastily shuttled off to 
oblivion, Edward E, Rice's burlesque productions dominated 
the press notices for the rest of the year. The spring sea- 
son of the Rice troupe was a failure, the autumn season a 
tremendous success. But the town was friendly from the 

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Mb- . 




, 1-1 1 -A CHAPMAN 


Ella Chapman, diminutive _per- Alice Athorton, (1847-1899), 
former_ of the burlesque "Ilia- (Mrs. Willie Edouin) star of 
watha.'' burlesque, ''Robinson Crusoe." 


Burlesque 173 

beginning. Were not Sol. Smith Russell and George Knight in 
the castT These were familiar and appreciated performers in 
San Francisco. The leading lady of the April openings Flor- 
ence Ellis, fell very cold on the eyes and ears of the re- 
viewers and was quickly replaced by Catherine Lewis ; who the 
press knowingly assured Mr. Rice was a "find." Even this 
shift, however, did not keep the spring engagement out of the 
red; while a mere listing of the artists engaged for the No- 
vember opening assured llir » Rice of a very profitable margin. 
Willie Edouin and his wife Alice Atherton were not enough. 
Rice also signed Alice Harrison, Ella Chapman, W.A.Mestayer, 
Lewis Harrison and, later, Belle Chapman. Most of these peo- 
ple were not only at the top of the burlesque profession,* 
they were also famous Calif ornians. 

First, the dismal business of the spring failure. 
Evangeline was the title of the first production. It appar- 
ently might as well have been called Cleopatra or Rings Aroimd 
Saturn, in the prevailing mode of Jules Verne extravaganza; 
Longfellow was little more than a vain shade without a voice 
in the commonwealth. Edward Rice and J. Cheever Goodwin, in 
collaboration, but mostly without collaboration in preference 
to Rice, achieved the historical curiosity. 

The flat maze of the Evangelical plot (it is inev- 
itable that this chronicle's proximity to the burlesque pun 
would finally inflict upon it, also, the disease) was a poor 
beginning toward success. The burlesque begins without the 


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benefit of any particular geography. Evangeline is the 
daughter of Basil; she is betrothed to Gabriel; Le Blanc, the 
vnllainous notary, is delighted with this betrothal, Icnowing 
that Evangeline's inheritance will be denied her if she 
marries Gabriel;- and, by way of cementing the opening 
situation, Le Blanc is in love with Evangeline's mother, 
Catherine . 

From this entangleraent , the story veers into an 
incredible number of pointless angles. Two sailors, deserters 
from a man-of-war lying in the harbor, are concealed by 
Evangeline in her father's house. It is the evening of her 
betrothal to Gabriel. With marriage at hand, the captain of 
the man-of-war, followed by his faithful sailors, enters the 
room violently. The deserters are found, Evangeline is 
arrested as a conspirator, and the entire burlesque company 
is sent to England for a court martial scene. But a storm 
of shipwreck proportions intervenes. 

The burlesque company is next beheld on a bleak 
African strand. Things at this moment look intensely bad 
when suddenly diamonds are discovered in the sand and fortune 
seems to smile through a slight cloud rift. There will be no 
such luck, however, for a long time.; the policemen of the 
African monarch, Boorioboola Gha, leap with barbaric yells 
upon the gawking victims, arresting the whole crew on a charge 
of stealing the crovm jewels. Everyone is sentenced to 
death by the headman's axe. 


i CfjiOi' 

Burlesque 175 

At this point, at last, the miasmal bad luck be- 
gins to lighten into a honey-colored stream of complete good- 
will. Le Blanc's eyes brighten and he steps forward. He 
has recognized in Boorioboola Gha a friend of his old days. 
In fact, they had worked together as masons on the same 
ladder in a construction job in some city somewhere. Pardons 
then fall like rain, not only from Boorioboola Gha, but also 
from the captain of the man-of-war. To complete his amnesty, 
Boorioboola Gha now furnishes his rescued friends with a 
balloon which carries the burlesque company in toto very con- 
veniently near the Union Pacific lines in Arizona. 

The script now designates home as San Francisco, 
where the last gay betrothal scene is finally enacted. No 
resolution is made of Le Blanc's early villainy. It is per- 
haps assxuned that the audience will believe Le Blanc's evil 
motives have been thoroughly purified by the heavy crosses 
he has had to bear in the coxirse of the evening. Evangeline's 
mother, Catherine, hauled without purpose through all the 
other scenes, is still present just before the fall of the 
curtain, falls into Le Blanc's arms, and the cogs and 
sprockets of the plot are considered complete. 

The success of this pastiche in New York was due 
entirely to its performers. It was not so fortunate in San 
Francisco. The music of the bt^rlesque, compiled and composed 
by Rice, was from all reports good; but, according to Betsy B. 
of the Argonaut , no one in the cast had even ''one spark of 


5ra -Bi;ji.lci' xjusifil'-ij "^'u^-/«iiaQV/j;"iaoti inx .. bssiajjoaai- sad 

enafol^'' . &'s^!iim-r^.o^' :xtia'.'Q:n(^ir. '.."tIy.:dd'Q:,.na :..a rvti lebb/.- 

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.Gd^is^/^B^i:^ VrfiS ej3i'e«[Ci1.i a6vt:5Js3i3s£i6 v/on-->vlq;p'i3a' sill'. 

Burlesque 176 

musical ability," The weight of the performance fell upon 

Sol. Smith Russell and George Knight. Of the former Betsy B., 

in the Argonaut for April 13, 1878 has this to say; 

"He enters quite into the spirit of burlesque, 
and is especially ridiculous in a toilet which 
consists of a Roman toga not more than twenty 
inches in length and a baker's cap. He gives 
just one little flavor of his former entertain- 
ment, his specialty concert, in a brief but 
touching recitation of that inspiring ode, 
'Twinkle, twinkle, little star.'" 

George Knight brought to San Francisco his famous 
character, the Lone Fisherman, Absolutely unrelated to the 
plot of Evangeline , the Lone Fisherman was nevertheless omni- 

•'The Lone Fisherman is the feature. He actually 
smells of the brine, his make-up is so perfect. 
He is omnipresent. Every scene discloses him. 
He is in the play but not of them, until the 
last moment. He has a various fancy, and with 
his camp-stool, his pipe, his cards, fishing- 
rod and fan, his inseparable lusgage he accom- 
plishes many grotesque effects."^'' 

The Lone Fisherman creation of George Knight stands 
as one of those few original conceptions which freshened the 
withered burlesque form in the latter part of the nineteenth 
century. Unfortunately it also stands, along with the bur- 
lesque of melodeons, as one of those irrecoverable portions 
of theatrical history. The Chaplinesque quality of this 
innocent fisherman, completely immersed in a scene which he 
does not Influence nor which affects him to any great extent, 

* Argonaut , April 13, 1878. 


:np-f* rtffrf 'Vrt :f 

■"?• t^r'si'fr- 

'Xfe:.! I ; 7 i.' <! itr' *^ 't *•. 

Tf^i^fT. ^^^^ 


Burlesque 177 

is obvious. George Knight had created a cinematic character 
a little too early for permanence in celluloid. By these 
events, the relation of Chaplin's silent films to the whole 
tradition of pantomime is clarified. The Commedia dell 'Arte 
in its decadence shined out occasionally in such figures as 
Grimaldi and George Knight, The efflorescences of this old 
comedy of the people have been very rare in contemporary 
society. The movements of Charles Chaplin, one of the few 
outposts of the tradition, are fortunately preserved in the 
little, whirring squares of celluloid. If the tradition 
should again collapse, which is unlikely considering the ex- 
treme pitch in the twentieth century of social antagonisms 
and ferment, it could still be witnessed in the art of one 
of its greatest practitioners. 

Betsy B. returned to the run of Evangeline with 
some hopefulness, seeing that Catherine Lewis had supplanted 
the unfortunate choice of Florence Ellis as star: 

"I believe if I were a manager making a combina- 
ation, I should come to California and pick up 
the floating material. They have picked up 
Catherine Lewis in this way for Evangeline at 
the Grand Opera House, Artistically, Miss 
Lewis is a vast improvement on Florence Ellis, 
She has some talent, chic, magnetism. If Rice 
will do a little reconstructing he has found a 
treasure. That garment in the first act should 
be committed to the flames. Those black boats 
should be sent out to the Parallons and sunk 
with heavy weights. That red robe should be 
forwarded to Alameda and cut into sashes for the 
bullfighters. Next week, Russell, they say is 
to play 'Catherine* while Harry Golden will 
play 'Le Blanc. •"--' 

^ Argonaut . April 20, 1878, 


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erio lo d^^fiB' acid n:.c'.t»9ae«>ntiw f- . '^^I- briB 

,'iA.-te P..B" aiX'XS^ «f>rs6ic.;. iori^- ^.-fartrMio'lt-iii; * ij 



Burlesque 178 

Miss Lewis, however, was not attractive enough to 
move the show from the red into the black and a last attempt 
to bolster up the falling off of the audience was made by- 
George Knight in the last week of the show's run: 

''George Ivnight has been making up as Emperor 
Norton. It is rather a frowsy costume, but 
very natural, as the actor seemed to think one 
night when, coming out he confronted the old 
Emperor himself a foot or two from the stage. 
Both seemed vastly pleased, and derived the 
same satisfaction apparently that is to be ob- 
tained from a long look in the glass, "-"'• 

There was nothing left but a violent move on the 
part of the impresario, so Rice announced a sudden change of 
the bill to the old burlesque of Conrad the Corsair . Nothing 
happened but further monetary loss for Rice and another series 
of attempted rescues on the part of the stars in the company. 
Catherine Lewis applied the oxygen with the drinking song 
from Girof le-Girof la , but this maneuver netted nothing but 
the dry quip from the reviewers that it was a shame Mies 
Lewis did not look as well as she sang. George Knight applied 
the Lone Fisherman episodes heavily, but the praise of the 
press for his work had evidently no realistic ratio to box- 
office receipts. The variations which he brought into his 
costume are no longer clear. The Argonaut for May 4 found 
that ''He looked like Caliban, in a pair of tigerish locking 
tights, and he sang like a hoarse owl." Rice's spring season 
was closed by Betsy B. of the Argonaut with a meditation on 
Sol. Smith Russell's hair: 

<i Ibid. 

: .rCf?"-': '-'Aorfa .9d&'rfiQ Jleew/.tjjgJ: iaA^^'ni ctflgi'ia. .e^aoev 

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no'siaeii gxii'Tc^'a j?,**^s:''7 ^'.Itr^s -ssijao!,-,'. /^ ^?»'j£/. x^-~ 


Burlesque 179 

"I find myself lost in amazement at the freaks 
of that wonderful lower lip. It assumes many- 
strange forms. There is also a great deal of 
expression to his hair. When a solitary Napole- 
on look lies on his forehead, he is the school 
orator; when the front of it rears up like a 
set of spikes he is the pompous attorney; when 
it is smooth and sleek and properly set, he is 
Sol. Smith Russell."* 

With the persistence of the hero in a success story. 
Rice returned to the scene of his economic debacle in Novem- 
ber. The retvirn was practical; he was now backed up by a 
superb cast. Alice Harrison and W. A. Mestayer had become 
available after a noteworthy Boston engagement. Willie Edouin 
and his wife, Alice Atherton, were sure to arouse enthusiasm 
in their "home-town'' after their successes in the Eastern 
cities. And there was Ella Chapman, consistent headliner in 
burlesque for many years. 

The vehicle for this glittering constellation was 
stubbornly enough — after the experience with early American 
history in Evangeline -- named Hiawatha . This proved to be 
ill-timed covirage. The graph of Rice's fall season was to 
assume a pronounced curve; from the failure of Hiawatha , up 
to the pronounced successes of Robinson Crusoe and Babes in 
the Wood back down somewhere in between, to the production 
of Revels . 

The machinations of the plot of Hiawatha are no- 
where recorded. The sort of melange Rice had tried to stick 
together is pointedly analyzed by the Argonaut critic, Novem- 
ber 2, 1878: 

^' Argonaut , May 4, 1878, 

■ ■-"■ ^•rrv :tr!«;if:e:sstt?-*T -t- f^rtll I" 

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.SV8X ,->> •'-'■ ••^-^;- 





"I admire }l\r . Rice as a plagiarist ..« .Who 
else would have dared to plan the first strains 
of the old time melody of 'Jennie who lives on 
the Hill' under so transparent a disguise as 
' Into the Water We Go ' ; while a dozen other 
Boucicaultian eccentricities cast one into a 
haze of perplexity while trying to recall the 
original air out of which the new was manu- 
fact\ired. . . .Its ( Hiawatha's ) puns are feeble 
and stale, and its situations are not amusing, 
although the author has introduced the play 
within the play, which latterly has grown to be 
a specialty in dramatic writing, I think Mr. 
Rice must agree with Owen Meredith that 'old 
things are best,' for he utilises yet once 
again the paste-board d-umb-bells and weights, 
and the wooden horse, which have become stand- 
ing properties in a minstrel troupe." 

The audience was immediately hypersensitive to a 
certain remoteness in Alice Harrison and interpreted it as 
Boston hauteur. It proved to be merely a bad cold, and her 
temporary withdrawal from the company removed one of the es- 
sential props from Rice's shaky edifice, W, A, Mestayer, 
last seen in San Francisco as an actor in legitimate drama, 
showed a sudden rise in talent with his burlesque interpre- 
tations which, the Argonaut familiarly assured him, "sit bet- 
ter upon 'Lo,' the poor Indian, than upon the legitimate 
characters over which you used to groan. •'"■"" Miss Louise 
Searle, a newcomer, was found ''a really delightful singer. 
She is pretty, in a characterless way, and in pink silk and 
spangles reminds me of a French doll sitting open-eyed in a 
toy window at Christmas time."""* The other stars of the 
production are then taken care of by this same authority: 

* Argonaut , November 2, 1878, 


Burlesque 181 

''He (Willie Edouin) was cast for 'William Penn' 
in that vague elastic way peculiar to bur- 
lesques, and perpetrated a series of lightning 
changes frora Quaker to Athlete,.,. I am taken 
with his wife, Alice Atherton . . . .She manages to 
hit off the stolidity of the Indian Squaw in a 
very amusing and thoroughly life-like way, and 
accomplished a very amusing duet with 'I/Ir. Lo,' 
although she has the merest skeleton cf a voice. 
I must tell you of a tiny midget billed as Ella 
Chapman. She sings a little song, and dances 
a little dance, and plays a little baby banjo, 
and has a wee little voice, and is altogether 
such a little creature that one feels rather as 
if they are looking on an Infant prodigy than 
the burlesque actress of the period."-'^ 

Hiawatha's canoe proved much too fragile a craft 
for the size of Rice's venture. The v/ater had barely closed 
over the wreckage however, when the obstinate impresario 
thrust another prow into the rapids of the press and the murky 
waters of public reaction. There was a simple and unanimous 
statement in the newspapers, November 9, following the open- 
ing of Robinson Crusoe ; Hiawatha had been a failure, Robin - 
son Crusoe was a hit, 

Alice Atherton was the Crusoe, and the Friday foot- 
prints which she discovered were those of Willie Edouin. 
Miss Atherton 's Crusoe costume made green again the memory of 
Lydia Thompson's first California tour, for it was the pio- 
neer Thompson's creation; 

''I wish you could see her (Alice Atherton) in 
her suit of goatskin, with only a dash of color 
let in, in the shape of a red wing in her cap, 
and a set of red ribs in her Japanese umbrella. 
I remember the cudgelling of brains Lydia 

■::- Argonaut , November 2, 1878, 



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**.>'iSrt3i nS ■'.t-r<.yif'r>-v6b ^ .-ciyr-:-. 

Burlesque 182 

Thompson had to conjure up this costume, and 
what a hit it was.''^^'- 

Other aspects of the production stirred up as much nostalgia 
as the suggestively draped goat skin. There was a certain ef- 
fect of stage lighting on Miss Searle : 

''Apropos of resemblance, they cast the full 
blaze of the calcium light on Miss Searle the 
other night while she was singing- -singing ex- 
quisitely, too- -and for a moment she was a pic- 
ture of what Minnie Walton used to be in the 
glory of her beauty, when Cherry and Fair Star 
. was running at the old California. "•"'• 

Willie Edouin's conception of Crusoe's man, Friday, 
was the most discussed aspect of the production. Edouin had 
done the part in the East where, report had it, he had lifted 
burlesque up to something of its old pantomimic subtlety. 
His performance was treated as seriously by the newspapers 
of San Francisco. The Argonaut for November 9 declared so- 
berly: "Burlesques always fizzle out toward the end, but in 
the first part there is more in Friday than can be taken in 
with a passing sense of pleased amusement.'' Brief reference 
to competent acting jobs by Harry Dixey and Lou Harrison com- 
pleted the early press coverage of the production* 

Ella Chapman failed to gain the spotlight until the 
production of Babes in the Wood , which opened November 18. 
Her first press notice, November 23, merely implied that she 
was still little and cunning and that she skipped rope . *''''>'■ 
Her second notice was shared with Willie Edouin: 

•"■ Argonaut . November 9, 1878, 
-""::-Ibid. November 23, 1878. 


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d:k^£ ;g^."-?- -'nn:;- /^^at^jrlO Jt'siS-.v •■ ■•■Ycrrt 

Burlesque 183 

''Ella Chapman as one of the naughty hahes has 
an awfully jolly time of it. She dresses like a 
little tot of four years, and V/illie Edouin 
dresses and acts like an imp--a small male Imp 
of six."'** 

With the general opinion, and the definite proof in 

his pocket, that the Babes in the Wood had been as successful 

a burlesque as Robinson Crusoe , Rice confidently plunged into 

the final catastrophe of his long San Francisco engagement. 

The much advertised Revel s, or Bon Ton George Jr . , woke up 

to the following review of its opening: 

''The audience was sparse and cold, and of that 
character that demanded satisfaction for antic- 
ipation, and was disgusted when it did not even 
get it by waiting till after twelve o'clock; 
for Revels opened as a weakling and strung along 
the most ridiculous lot of rubbish that was ev- 
er dignified with the highsounding name of spec- 
tacle. Another English imposition without co- 
herency of plot or movement, containing nothing 
new or novel, unless it be the diabolical at- 
tempts at punning that so invariably afflicts 
the text of anything that Rice and Co. have to 
do with."^="^'* 

The press despaired of summarizing the plot, find- 
ing the events had something to do with Saint George and the 
dragon, with the opening scenes vaguely Biblical, and the 
closing scenes somehow divided between contemporary England 
and India, The luminosity of all the stars but Willie Edouin 
had dimmed, "Situations intended to be ridiculous .. .are only 
saved from actual stupidity by the interpretation of the 
character 'Gallapat' by Willie Edouin, who has carried the 
performance and given what little satisfaction has been had 

<{■ Argonaut , November 30, 1878, 
-i:-^;-Ibid. December 28, 1878. 


■■^'J Lipii ,ooq Bid 

c*r • .. aaae.o 

!>":: ■ . ■• . ■ ■. . .do 

exl;t I.: 

Burlesque 184 

from if declared the Argonaut for December 28. Dwindling 
audiences confirmed this opinion. Rice slashed the admission 
prices; there was an upsurge in gate receipts, but the audi- 
ence could not be held. The transformation scene and the 
corridor setting, which had cost so much money, were cliches 
of burlesque staging, no longer of interest to the public ex- 
cept in the almost sentimental revivals of The Black Crook . 
The music of Revels was, according to Rice's honest practice, 
freely lifted from any available source; this time the steal- 
ing was conducted without any taste whatsoever. The fate of 
the production was clear from a last, irrevocable statement 
in the Argonaut ' s review for December 28, 1878: 

"It ( Revels ) has not even the huiiiorous features 
of lost Evangeline , the magnificent spectacular 
failure of a year' ago . '' 

The year was complete, and Rice's Surprise Party 
had become a sort of boomerang. The public, at the last, had 
been frigidly unsurprised. Rice's meditation on the closing 
night of his Revels , as he leaned over a bar or, with disgust 
and exhaustion, snapped his suspender from his shoulder in 
his hotel room, are among the invaluable, forever-lost rec- 
ords which novel writers pretend to recover. Even so, the 
year's production of burlesque in San Francisco had been his; 
and the years to come would often recur to his Surprise Party 
troupe, if not to his own writing of burlesque, as one of the 
high criterions of burlesque history. 

e;w bhj^' enift't n6't<f ^'io'xr-nfiH'i etl . ''ff. o'd tch'- bhfdo' eo'cib' 

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9;*4 \cc nsvS ,«:e'vod§¥''o5" bh-^tJsrtq' " P'xejlivY X*ir6n ' rtoirf* ' 

Burlesque 185 

The small deaths of individual careers are easily- 
observed and furnish entertaining newspaper copy. The larger 
more important deaths of an art form -- a political institu- 
tion, the buffalo, or the technique for making violins — are 
more evasive of observation, and slippery of analysis. Min- 
strelsy, -under the aegis of Billy Emerson and Charlie Reed at 
Standard Theatre on Bush Street in the early eighties ;was ex- 
hibiting (and neither the public nor the minstrels knew this) 
the jerking muscles of its rigor mortis. When burlesque ex- 
travaganza had risen to its height of popularity in The Black 
Crook , the minstrels had competed by lending as many bur- 
lesque elements as possible to their own performances. Now, 
in the eighties, when Gilbert and Sullivan had shifted the 
whole trend of theatrical entertainment toward light opera, 
the minstrels took on as much of that color as possible. The 
old end man, interlocutor, olio formula was discarded^ min- 
strelsy as a particular kind of entertainment had lost its 
reason for being. 

Burlesque itself was gasping dangerously for second 
wind of popularity in the spring of 1879. The Victorian 
Lof tus British Blondes attempted the same fields that an over- 
whelming invasion of blondes had already cropped close. The 
variety acts, which were played against the outworn backgrovmd 
of a blonde ballet, saved the engagement from fail-ure. There 
was Harry Le Clair, a female impersonator, in an act entitled 

861" Oi/pRSitij- 

;Jb fissyl eiliariO bn^. nosie/aii 'fXI.iS lo elne;:. esi:^ 'labttis ^Y:e.Xeii:t: 
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919:IT .©lyXxjil frro-il rtnenteBegno aric^ bevra 4;+?f.Xj:c^ eX>noIcf ^ 1- 
i)eXrf2dn9 •'Job na nl ,';'- l£no.:.'£9o;;i oX-'5r:-9'i fi ^'zlaiO sJ ^I'l^H ec 

Burlesque 186 

''The Stage-Struck Chambermaid.'' The Etzeltxne Sisters manip- 
ulated Indian clubs in a ''novel and picturesque act'' which 
"brought down the house. "•5^' Miss Lotta Elliott skipped into 
the hearts of her critics to such an extent by means of her 
skipping-rope act that subsequent notices praised her famil- 
iarly as Miss Lottie. James Marlow apparently filled out to 
a certain extent at least his advertised afflatus as "Banjo 
King." The Victorian Loftus British Blondes was obviously a 
misnomer for a variety troupe. 

Matt Morgan's Living Art Pictures , at the Adelphi 
in 1879, with their nostalgic remembrance of the success of 
Dr, Collyer's Model Artists at the Athenaeum in 1850, were 
another instance of burlesque casting about for a direction! 
in this instance, the psychologists would say, a rec\irrence 
to the simple harmonies of childhood. Figaro for February 
25, 1879 remarked, of Morgan's Living Pictures, that 

''The one that took our fancy most was the reali- 
zation of that well-known picture, The Old Couple 
in the Art Gallery. It is well done, and here 
we would say, that there is nothing in the 
production of these pictures that could possibly 

On the other hand, burlesque, in one of its desper- 
ate metamorphoses for its life breath, called down, very de- 
liberately, the adjective "offensive." Still under the 
managership of M. B, Leavitt,the combination of the Rentz Fe- 
male Minstrels and the Mabel Santley troupe returned to San 
Francisco in February and opened at the Standard theatre. 

Figaro , February 11, 1879, 


rioifiw ";" " f.o'f/Io n& 

lo. BrfiBeri oil* 

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•It"'; -5:: ccrx ic ^::o r.l tS^/psexijjc;? 
■9b"Yl9v ^^wob bsXXBO trir 

Burlesque 187 

Degree of undress and suggestive gesture were exploited as 

the last chance for theatrical survival. Unf ortunately^ the 

entertainment of the exhibit moved from the theatre to the 

courtroom where most of Leavitt's engagement was performed. ■'''" 

The charge of indecent exposure brought against Mabel Santley 

netted her a fine of )200, while the charges automatically 

filed against Leavitt as manager were finally dismissed. As 

for the theatrical performance itself, the court witnesses 

who were delegated to view it, could not, after sitting 

through the program in one case two times, in another four 

times, in another twelve times, "see anything in it." T he 

News Letter for February 22,1879 had already declared itself: 

"The women are all plain and mostly middle-aged. 
And there is not a fresh voice in the lot. The 
performance is insxiff erably stupid, but tights 
are worn and limbs are shown, and bald heads and 
downy tikes will pay for this sort of thing.'' 

On only one occasion at this time did burlesque 
face the encroachment of light opera firmly and with the in- 
herent method of the burlesque tradition. In the middle of 
the summer, 1879, Tony Pastor annovmced a satirical produc- 
tion. The Canal Boat Pinafore , take-off on the English origi- 
nal, so much in vogue at this time that nothing else seemed 
to stand a chance on the boards. 

"There is really no sense in any manager trying 
to play anything but Pinafore . There's Tony 
Pastor, a man of the times, realized the necessi- 
ty of playing Pinafore , and the utter absurdity 
of trying to play anything elsej so he has con- 
verted a whole battalion of song and dance peo- 
ple into opera singers. They have burlesqued it 

-;;- For details of Mabel Santley' s trial, see monograph on 
The Court and the Stage , this series. 

or' .' tof. <•• 

■•■•■{"* '?T» ill id' d'^ fr-'xsi:!t 

i-^-^.<i■.•,,i.:•;,: :3( 

Burlesque 188 

ever so slightly and one can see that every in- 
dividual member of the company has had a yearn- 
ing to play Pinafore , and they do play Pinafore 
with an earnestness of effort which shows that 
they are challenging comparison. But the trail 
of song and dances is over it all; and the spe- 
cialists will appear, for the 'Admiral' is a 
Dutchman; the 'Dick Deadeye ' an Irishman; and 
the 'Buttercup' unmistakably from the London 
concert hall. They are all exceedingly clever; 
even the 'Josephine' is a fresh rather artless 
little girl for a variety singer. As for 'Ralph 
Racks traw, ' the much transposed music sounds 
oddly enough in the Irwin's deep, strange, un- 
comfortable voice; but she is a dashing looking 
mariner. And is Pinafore played out yet? Not 
a bit of it."^^ 

November 1879, the Colville Opera Burlesque Com- 
pany, no doubt nervously remembering Rice's Surprise Party 
company, made another late attempt at bxirlesque extravaganza. 
It was quite successful. Ella Chapman was again one of the 
steadfast caryatids of the manager's forttme. The other 
stellar names were new: Erne Roseau, singing lead, whose name 
in the advertisements was larger than anyone else's; Kate 
Everleigh, an English actress; and a male comedy team, Graham 
and Reed. Miss Roseau was handled a little roughly in the 
review of the opening production, The Magic Slipper , in the 
Argonaut for November 8 ° 

"Little Ella Chapman is really the bright, par- 
ticular star. Miss Eme'' Roseau is per advertise- 
ment the star. She is a tall, handsome woman 
in a large way and reminds one of Lucre'Zia Bor- 
gia, or that cheerful person, the Duchess of 
Malfi, but would never strike anyone as a Cin- 
derella. For some inscrutable reason, a woman 
five feet and ever and ever so many inches tall 
can not play the role of ingenue without look- 
ing excessively silly. To understand how silly, 

-;!• Argonaut , August 16, 1879. 

-sqa erit' bcir~ '^LIb cti tevo k "j 

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9ai nJ: Ylristfca 9X;f:>xI a 5sX£>rT.'iri:'2fiW xj.'^Q-aor . ' .' ■ ■•" . -? 

■ -^^j air" ■ • ■•'• 
. r .ilXsv 

Biirlesque 189 

go and listen to Miss Roseau singing 'Chick-a- 
dee-dee.' She would make a superb Mile. Lange 
or Mephisto in opera bouffe, a beautiful Venus 
or Juno in burlesque, but there is too much 
darling for a fairy godmother in the Magic Slip- 


The quality of the script of the Magic Slipper is 

indicated in the final statement of this same review: 

"It is a good old story, but just a little too 
old, except with better setting. Its jokes are 
all stale. Its puns, execrable." 

Oxygen , the much-favored burlesque of Lydia Thomp- 
son' s repertory, succeeded the Magic Slipper . Miss Roseau 
was again the maligned point of departure in the reviews: 

''Miss Roseau is not at all at home in burlesque. 
She has not caught the faintest breath of its 
spirit. Her ftin is clvunsy, her mirth heavy. 
She really belongs in a higher field. She knows 
nothing of what the dailies call the technique 
of burlesque, a technique which Ella Chapman 
has at her fingers' points and toes'^ points, 
and even in the carriage of her head»''* 

The particular error of Miss Roseau at this time 
was the singing of Adelina Patti's laughing- song, for which 
the entire town was anxiously awaiting the great Patti her- 
self. The comedians, Graham and Reed, however, were looked 
upon hopefully. Reed was found to be ''really clever ''*"*■ and 
it was granted that Graham had ''an appreciation of the 
humorous,"'"' Kate Everleigh burst through obscurity with the 
production of Robinson Crusoe ; 

" . . ,when little Kate Everleigh put on the white 
goatskin of Robinson Crusoe, presto, she became 
the rage for a week. Is it the goat-skin 

4i- Argonaut , November 22, 1879 

631 ©i/peoXiirG 

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^ t^&eri • 'frj Xi .'!i 'ij>ff tYSfTUJXo -si mrl -rsH • .-ctltiqs 
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siftiv '-^i.-:'.'' j£- x;B6-3o-fl eaxil -'io 'i.ij'j're •tiXifSXt'iBq a.'iT 

ri.';c."{w lo'T (Sxiaa-gxtXrfgjyflX s'lcttfa"? sniXc-M Io gfix^nxa «?rli sew 

i;nr. ''^•'•ifivsXo \:XXc.e-£'' ocf oct >'Dm.-c'i 3.sw iseeH - , ^XX.c/loqori noqi; 

er^d rfdx-'.v Y^Xijjoccfo risijoihd cJs'j.;7a' rfsi^Xidva eieil . .--oiciurri 

■ ; 9 0;S ;j"i no s rix d ■• H lo noicfoi/Jio'iq 
^jWw .-'jixoXtcsvH e:?.-?}! ©ij^^xX-frarlv^. . . '' 

Burlesque 190 

costume, which no woman with a respectable pair 
of legs can look badly in, or is it that the 
new prominence has brought out talent. "^>'' 

Productions of Plff-Paff and the Babes in the Wood 
carried the company into the holiday season, when the specta- 
cle of Blue Beard was anno\inced as a Christmas specialty. The 
"wealth of music and dazzling costumes"'^^' of Bluebeard pro- 
longed its run into the first week of January 1880 when, by 
popular request, the Magic Slipper burlesque was revived. 
Henry J. Byron's burlesque of The Bohemian Girl followed the 
Magic Slipper ; 

''On Monday evening, Henry J. Byron's burlesque 
of the Bohemian Girl will be performed for the 
first time in this city. It will be produced 
with new scenes and costumes, and new music — 
not one air of the original opera being re- 
tained. It is spoken of as being a most amusing 
burlesque, full of Byron's best wit, and replete 
with fujrmy situations and capital scenes.''-^'-^^ 

A week of rapid repertory including the burlesques : 

Oxygen . The Magic Slipper , Robinson Crusoe . Piff-Paff , and 

Bohemian Gy-url. closed the long run of the CoLville troupe at 

the Bush Street Theatre. The Dally Alta California for 

January 11, 1880 laid a niggardly wreath of lukewarm praise 

on the close of the engagement: 

''It (the run of eleven weeks) has on the whole 
been quite successful, and while doing well for 
the management, has afforded a great deal of 
pleasure to our lovers of amusement." 

-» Argonaut . December 13, 1879. 

■"'^' Daily Alta California . January 1, 1880. 

^H{"»ibid, January 4, ISfi'd . 



-.^g. -^^ .^ ■ ■■ •■JMlM Ml 

'"' -"i: 

9n:t ^io •"'li-'c 'nr.'-- &or: 

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: d'«9'rf3ai*srt» 6r{i lo saoXo ©rid n : 


Biorlesque 191 

Those lovers of amusement were evidently not sati- 
ated with the fare of the Colville Opera Burlesque Company. 
Immediately after closing at the Bush Street Theatre, the 
company reopened at the California for two more weeks of 
profitable production. With Robinson Crusoe , and Ill-Treated 
II Trovatore , the Colville burlesquers achieved their one- 
hundredth and final performance in San Francisco, an occasion 
which called for floral tributes, much acclaim, and the dis- 
tribution of satin programmes. The Monday following the 
close , 

"...the company begins a season of one week in 
Sacramento, thence to Eureka for one week; 
thence to Salt Lake, appearing Feb. 16th and 
17th J Denver, Feb. 20th, six nights; St. Louis, 
at the Olympic Theatre, for two weeks, and 
thence to Now Orleans, opening March 15th, for 
two weeks. "•5* 

The success of the Colville company was the excep- 
tion and not the rule for burlesque in the eighties. With 
Eme Roseau, Ella Chapman, Kate Everleigh, and the comedians 
Graham and Reed definitely entrained on their long tour, the 
real nature of contemporary entertainment was again visible. 
Variety bills and light opera companies dominated the scene. 

If you were not made curious by the bill at Wood- 
ward's Gardens featuring Hei'mann's cannon act, there was the 
opera company at the Tivoli in Girof le^-Girof la . If the Ebnelie 
Melville English Opera Company in The Ideal Pinafore at the 
Bush Street Theatre had been too much heard, there was Millie 
Christini, the Two-headed Nightingale at Dashaway Hall on the 


<fr Dally Alta California , January 25, 1880. 

J.:!L . as.., 

lioiSiiooo- n^ .<qc:Biw:i8''i'^-nBa- ni'i.'dnn'fljaaoil'ii&q' lartll fins rictJbeifinx/ri 

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*ii*V. .sftXo^fiale AfiiJ nl. ejj-pssXiwcf io1 eXi/i srf* ctoh' JbniS - aoi^f 
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edi . ^oucJ SfjoX. lieriJ ao b&nlBtiaB yI.&:iXnt1oS3 L RiBdBi\ 

. eI<itRiv rJa^B saw ■In&fnnlaite-Jjne x'^f?'^0'30f6*noo 'i<^ s-ix/Jan Xjee--. 
.ene;-,-.; c^rJct i39:tflnlx'::db seXnaqmoo fl-xaqo ctrislX fcns sXXXtf Y^elna'.- 
-•Ixrf srlct -^cf 3i;oli;/o ebam :foi« 9ig\v io-^ 'i: 
ttiij BMW eiorfj tio^ .Tonrin:.' ' ' :'\nliifor ' ' *.; '. 

eiXertS rnfd 11 . sXlo'ii:^;" ?.C ' J erfj d-a Ynaqjtnoo aaaq'; 

or!i iB. 0'xo'"^£>-':cX q Lr.ob r oxiT aieqO ric "XivXeM 

©XXXXM asw piericf «X)«jee/- yed bad ©• ' -.a" 

©i<;> no XXBil Yfiwfif'aii.' oJbaorf-' -^ui: 

'Tfij/nfsX ^ . qj n "i c; 11 1 jb 0^ b:^ X A x L XjsJ > 

Btirlesque 198 

south side of Post Street, between Kearny and Dupont. And 

the Lilliputians were in town, and Mathilde Bonnay, the Xylo- 

phonist, and the Great Gibbons, King of the Air. At the Bush 

Street Theatre in March, 

"...a pleasantly varied programme, divided into 
three parts was presented last evening. Part 
first introduced Professor E, 0. Taylor, a 
clever illusionist, and a thorough master of 
the art of chemistry, in several very elusive 
tricks, M'lle LeGrande, blindfolded, performed 
some marvellous shots with the rifle and pis- 
tol. The program concluded with Taylor's Royal 
Italian Marionettes, "■** 

The Royal Middy , a comic opera by Richard Genee, took the 
stage over from the marionettes, and after five smash-hit 
weeks, moved out in favor of the first San Francisco produc- 
tion of The Pirates of Penzance , In the arid center of the 
summer's theatrical lag, for the first time in months a voice 
in the press was lifted for burlesque, and then only in the 
spirit of lamentation: 

"What has become of them all since burlesque 
went out--the Zavistowskis, Lydia Thompson, the 
English Blondes, and all the rest? There is a 
burlesque revival now and then. , ,but the pe- 
culiar spirit of that time has vanished. There 
are no more bevies of burlesquers, travelling 
about with their especial stock of quips, jokes, 
and antics, their songs and new steps. A bur- 
lesque nowadays is like the one at the Baldwin-- 
a temporary filling in of time."^** 

The burlesque at the Baldwin was Little Amy Robsart , 
a revamping of the old stsuidby, Kenilworth . 

* Daily Alta California , March 30, 1880, 
4H» Argonaut , August 28, 1880 . 

ai:noa ablSj-Wetf fens jfiwocJ'- rci ^'xa'.; a^i^ji. 
.i^i-vi ai.;v iA .*itA «riJ- lo '^IX »enocfcriO^A6«3:0 Off;?'- i;!-:- ^^^ ij^iiodq. 

- ■ - - r^S **- ** ' -| t*^ I 'l i rt" •* rr .' - I - 1 I - '"^^ - - — ^ 

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--r.j.v/f;.Vi..£fl; ■=>; 

Burlesque 193 

"With the single exception of Ixion > no bur- 
lesque is as worn as this, and yet it is almost 
the only one which will bear a revival. It is 
strange, too, for there is very little of the 
singing and dancing which once went to make up 
the better part of a burlesque.''-^*- 

The company involved in the production was the per- 
manent stock company at the Baldwin which had supported 
Adelaide Neilson in her Shakespearean repertory in June. 
Mr. A. B. Bishop emerged as the star. 

"We hail this combination of comedy and b\ir- 
lesque as the commencement of a new era, or 
rather the revival of old times, when wit was 
welcomed instead of wickedness, and humor took 
the place of indecency. Mr. Bishop was simply 
grand as Queen Elizabeth and the music was 
exquisitely arranged and conducted by Harry 

Late in September, after a vacuous lapse between 
productions, this same company announced the refurbishment of 
another old piece: Aladdin, or the Wonderful Scamp . Mr, 
Bishop again stimulated the press to some vinguarded enthu- 

"Mr. Bishop was simply immense, both physically 
and artistically as the redoutable Widow Twan- 
key. He fairly brimmed over with hxomor, and 
gave excellent promises as to his excellence iii 
the new line he is about to londertake, as the 
Widow Bedott, which part, we understand he is 
engaged to enact on a starring tour through the 
United States. Bishop is beyond any doubt ouir 
best comedian. He relishes of the true Bvirton- 
ian fun, so long lost to our stage, and is prob- 
ably the only legitimate low comedian in the 
prof ession."*"** 

ii- Argonaut , August 28, 1880. 

^'^'S ^San Francisco News Letter , September 25, 1880. 

A';iij'a.v ' ' •')0'3::q. 

oj'-iO' /iA a AiiUXviA^aiJ 

.088X t^'^ '7.9tlcs«>cfq6o ^'^^ 


Burlesque I94 

Miss Lillian Andrews was In tiie difficult position 
of inevitable comparison with a long line of previous 
Aladdins. Govigenhelm, Zavistowski, Thompson, Worrell, 
Massey: all the famous pulchritude which in the brevity of 
tights had given entrancing shape to Aladdin's annual reju- 
venation. The News Letter for September 25 was somewhat 
parsimonious and rasping in its praise of Lillian Andrews: 

"She is never vulgar withal but manages to make 
the groundlings laiigh v;ithout causing the judi- 
cious to grieve," 

The excvirsion of the Baldwin stock company into 
burlesque was a brief and not too bright flash in the pan. 
With the winter of 1880 another hiatus in burlesque produc- 
tion settled upon San Prancisco --upon the whole country, in 
fact. To say that no new scripts of interest reached the 
desks of the impresarios is to start the story in the middle. 
Basically, there was no demand for such scripts; the taste 
of theatre-goers load been cultivated in other directions. 
Whenever a bimlesque was hit upon as the means of bridging 
over a gap in entertainment, it was always an old horse, re- 
harnessed, or as in the case of Ixion, re-wheeled. Ixlon Re - 
wheeled was the title of the biorlesque which opened as holi- 
day entertainment for 1880 at the Standard Theatre. 

''The burlesque ( Ixion ) has been almost entirely 
rev/ritten by IJr. Fred Lyster, who has intro- 
duced a riTultitude of local allusions with gener- 
ally happy effect. The performance moves for- 
ward in a rapid and sparkling manner, it at no 
times becoming dull or tedious. The scenery is 
very handsome and the costumes of the characters 
are all new and very tasteful, "'-^ 

^■^ Daily Alta California , December 26, 1880, 


-'il /li-'sni' 



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exicf £)?-• ' 

:0 inLt 

-?f'5'nfl2 hoqw b(. 

iumQb or: .-.iiv 
£i/o neecf bed 


- 3H iXCXXl' ' ■ ' 

-Jtlori a£ Le- 


Burlesque 195 

Once the "'bewildering display of charms that covirse 
through the masculine brain with kaleidoscope effect" had be- 
come less overwhelming, and the "coruscation of beautiful 
heads set on rounded busts""'*' had dimmed a little, the Argo - 
naut was jerked up by the fact that, 

"The play Itself Is somewhat strong. It can not 
be said to rely upon Its refinement. There are 
many good points made in the lines, but every 
joke is savage and seems to cut, where it does 
not smash. Mr, Lyster has no regard for any 
such immaterial things as feelings. What he 
can stand in the way of a joke he makes his 
audience endure. There is throughout the whole 
burlesque scarcely a legitimate piece of fun-- 
a joke that can be laughed at without some feel- 
ing of discomfort."'*^ 

Featured in the cast were Grace Plaisted as Ixion; 

Miss S, Arline as Mercury; Fanny Young as Jupiter j Sylvia 

Gerrish as Venus; Willie Slmms as Minerva; and Harry Thompson 

as Bacchus. Of these, the press finally decided that Miss 

Gerrish was much too self-conscious of beauty to give much 

thought to acting; that Miss Young as Jupiter made her points 

in such a broad manner that they were lost; that Miss Plaisbad 

might be able to snap her fingers and wear a gay costume, but 

that was all. An obscure person in the cast, Abbie Pierce, 

came forward with singing ability and with what the Argonaut 

for January 1 found to be "some idea of burlesque in her 

Ganymede." Willie Simms as Minerva was rated the ablest of 


"...few well-trained burlesquers in the Com- 
pany (who) lead the fledglings into very cred- 
ible attempts in the right direction, "'5>"'«' 

^ Argonaut , January 1, 1881. 
^Hi- BuiletH , December 27, 1880. 

■• Gixi .;■".■ ;. . iO r^w...*:'^^ 

■'..•'.;••!•. «t _;'-., -.v . .. .,. , . . 

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viooflt ev.Lg o:f ijctif^iso' lo;-.D&.rtooVS:'X?2--ob.t 'iio//!T .saw rlei'r'xe 

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: -1)6 ';■',. -""r^v .Ov*.nl ,- 

Burlesque 196 

Particularly heavy demands were made on Harry Thompson's in- 
terpretation of Bacchus. Harry was the brother of the famous 
Lydia, and it was openly declared that, 

'* . . . (he)raust be expected to know all about bur« 
lesque, if only by force of consanguinity with 
the Queen of the Art."'*^ 

The art was apparently in the blood, for Harry Thompson came 
through the leveled critical gaze unscathed and with high 
honors in the press. 

Ixion Re-Vi/heeled was still drawing good houses when 
it entered the last week of its run, commencing January 8, 
1881. Its demise was followed by another of those, by now, 
habitual sinking spells in the production of burlesque . No 
lights for burlesque were to be turned on until April 30 at 
the Standard Theatre, where Willie Edouin announced his ap- 
pearance with a burlesque company of his own organization: 

"On Monday will be produced Horrors . . . .This is 
going to be something out of' the ^common run. 
The scenery will be new and beautiful, and the 
dresses valued at ^^1800."^'^ 


The years 1881, 1882, 1883: for all their being 
packed as any other years — with the manufacture of woolen 
goods, the performance of murder, the precipitation of rain, 
and sartorial revolution — were almost complete blanks for 
burlesque. The formerly vigorous, rotiind body was in such 


■"- San Francisco News Letter ^ January 1, 
-:HMbid. April 30, 1881. 



rfttiw ■■, .vo- lo ^? :i?L 

■■'■ '' . J'lii 9ii^ 'io na^iry ©rlo 

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. '^"C^:: .. sioinrc 

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jti . ■•:-' 

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10I . iCfaXqraoo: Jijoxrf.l . ■oicl'wXov©'! Islioiiue 

riout ni 8j8w ybod bnj/^toi ^s.^o^-o^.tv xLio^itol oxfT .eupeeXix. 

,X88XiX Yt-axij^JsL- : Ts^-Je .. . 



an etiolated, flat condition that total eclipse was imminent. 
Willie Edouin with his own company in 1881 and the Emerson 
Minstrels in 1882, were the only spots bright enoTigh for the 

The element of horror in Edouin' s opening burlesque. 
H orrors , remains unexplained. 

"Willie Edouin' 3 Hamsetzee Btimfietzee has lost 
none of the fun-provoking qualities that char- 
acterized it before.-"- Miss Alice Atherton 
makes an acceptable Prince Achmed. Miss A, 
Dumaure's La Jolie, the French housekeeper, is 
a capital piece of character acting, Jacques 
Kruger, always clever, does as well in b\ir- 
lesque as in comedy. Mr, Pov/ers' Rajah Zog, 
with a strong Irish accent, doservea special 
praise for both make-up and peculiarities. 
¥jr, 'ti. Crosbie, v^rho is familia-.-« to us all, sur- 
prised his friends as Tragedeo, the Court Jest- 
er . im,;.-:;- 

This uninspired partition of the critical bouquet 
was repeated for the company's second production, Willie 
Edouin' 3 old vehicle: Robinson Crusoe . This time Miss 
Atherton "met all the requirements" of her rolej Miss Marian 
Elmore "exhibited a fine fund of humor"; Miss Merville was 
"neat and careful"; Miss Starr was "very good as the Indian 
Princess"; Miss Russell "won applause for her singing but dis- 
played little taste in her dress"; Mr, Kruger was "quietly 
funny"; and Mr. Powers was "acrobatically amusing."'""""'^ Willie 
Edouin received a little special praise. The newspapers cast 

9f There is no record of this earlier performance. 
■K-4;- Daily Alta Califo rnia , May 5, 1881. 
->v;-K-lbid. May 16, ISBl. 

X'QJ' dxrpaeJicre 

noe-x&iuS oii firxfl I98I ':too rr^vo elri rti/ofjE «>l£^i" 

, supeal'S.rcr ;;-:i-n:*c<' 'j.*atL'obE iit lOfjorl lo cJxi&ineXs err:' 

. be-atBlcp^eais enisn: 

-^-- • • . . .- 


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nalbtil erii es boog Y'^^ev" bbv. t«XB^2 BsJtM t"XylcitflO fcrus ^dbp' 
-aib cfiuc? gfitgniE rtf^rf toI ssifclqqis i.;cw'' XXessi/H rsJ^M {"see'; 
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.^cniSf-:: ■l''oq neiXn 

Burlesque 198 

a look backwards over his career and agreed that his interpre- 
tation of the Man Friday role was the best thing in his rep- 

It was a long, low swing between the Edouin company 
at the Standard Theatre in 1881 and the burlesque of Sarah 
Bernhardt by the Emerson Minstrels at the same theatre in 
1882 « The occasion was prefaced by an announcement to this 

"First appearance of the Celet)rated Peruvian 
Actress: Mme. Sarah Heartburn." 

The Argonaut for January 14, 1882, admitted having had a good 

time : 

" Sarah Heartburn , by the way, is not a bad bur- 
lesque, and is a really welcome change from the 
wild breakage of dishes, and pitching about of 
furniture, with which a minstrel burlesque 
ceases to be funny. Time out of mind they have 
wound up v;ith a grand shattering of crockery, 
or a shower of flour on the cork-blacked faces. 
The new Camille discreetly dies by measuring 
her length somevftiat abruptly on the floor, and 
the curtain very properly falls to slow music. 
Emerson has taken a leaf from Haver ly's book 
and deals in quantity. It is a leaf worth 
studying, for tv/elve clog-dancers in attractive 
uniforms are better worth seeing than two." 

The reference to Haver ly is important. Minstrelsy 
had taken much the same co\irse of development as bvirlesque: 
the small company, the incisive, localized material, had giv- 
en Tvay to the Gigantic Spectacle. Haver ly was manager of the 
Mastodon Minstrels. Minstrelsy was making its last standln 
the manner of The Black Crook . It is interesting to remember 
that the last stand of cathedral architect\are was the baroque 

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itbc^&tiR :>ejbI bJI ^fi::isra bbw \caXoicJ6rtJM ,zioiiza.lM ttoboiBBfA 

Burlesque 199 

architecture of the Jesuits: a facade of over-crowded design 
whose details cannot take much critical scrutiny, while with- 
in, the nave Itself was a dull, hastily constructed amalgam 
of previous periods, with usually a sprinkling of over-senti- 
mental statues by Bernini. 


Revivals of all the famous, old burlesque titles 
had been attempted. The Madame Rentz-Mabel Santley combina- 
tion had attempted some additional undress in i.he costumes. 
The spring of 1884 brought a burlesque to San Francisco, 
which attempted to telescope some apparently incompatible 
qualities. The burlesque was called Excelsior , already aged 
to the extent of successful runs in Paris and New York in 
1882 and 1883, respectively. The attempted blend included: 
first, the complete abandonment of the spoken word for panto- 
mime; second, solo dancing and spectacular ballet; third, the 
tremendous subject matter of The Triumph of Light over Dark- 
ness, or of Civilization over Barbarism. The whole history 
of pantomime had been its exposition of gay, satirical mate- 
rial; here, suddenly, it was being revived only to be placed 
upon a Procrustean bed of Victorian morality. Harlequin was 
forced into the groove of Old Sobersides. The Kiralfy Ballet 
was the drawing card of the otherwise dull deck. No money 
had been stinted on the costumes, and ICiralfy's choreography, 
for once, satisfied and excited all beholders. Otherwise, 

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Burlesque 200 

descriptions of the production sound like one of those innu- 
merable engravings in one of those large tomes which were sup- 
posed to uplift nineteenth century living rooms with such 
titles as "Hearth and Home," or "Chats Beside the Chimney": 

"And therewith a bell jingled and the curtain 
arose. A young woman was outlined against the 
ruins of a city which seemed to have just come 
out of a bad earthquake. She was attired in a 
white silk robe, liberally embroidered with the 
portrait of an exceedingly ill-favored gentle- 
manj and a tall, Mephistophelian fellow, who 
looked as Galassi might look in the part, was 
triumphantly waving something over her. In the 
course of the pantomime the young woman seemed 
to get the better of the young man, and he 
shrank away, looking as he went, apparently for 
a pin on the floor. And with this the curtain 
rose again, but upon a scene of dazzling beauty 
and light. There were ranks upon ranks of pretty 
coryphees all shapely, all graceful, and all 
radiant with fantastic, glittering costumes. 
There were dozens of little children varioixsly 
arrayed, and the male ballet-dancers came to 
life again in a ballet of wonderful arrange- 
ment. Every possibility of varied and studied 
motion seemed to have been exercised. There 
were evolutions and convolutions, post\irings, 
whirlings, twirlings, wavings, twinkling feet, 
and waving hands, and wreathing arms, any one 
of them almost impossible to identify, but all 
of them together transforming the stage into 
a wonderful study of light and color, and 
motion. It was indescribably beautiful...." 

This same review, printed in the Argonaut , April 5, 

1884, reserved another type of adjective for the scenery. 

The master hand of Voegtlin had certainly not been emplcryedx 

"The scenery is rickety, shaky, dauby, smeary; 
the poor Brooklyn Bridge wobbles like a skip- 
ping rope in the wind; and the Suez Canal has 
a cold, flat, look." 



"Tftti?^;* 'Vi 

;^.^i ;J. 

Burlesque 201 


As for the plot content of the piece, no resume 

today could produce the Illumination of the advance publicity 

in the Argonaut for March 29, 1884s 

"The following is the plot of this curious 
play; Light; the Genius of Civilization, is 
found in captivity to Darkness, or Obscurantism, 
the Oenius of opposition to Human Progress, ?;ho 
is aided by Ignorance, Superstition and Crime. 
Light wakes, breaks her chain, and defies Dark- 
ness, and the scene changes to a most elaborate 
and beautiful picture of the Temple of Light 
and Progress, This fills the entire stage with 
graduated elevations at the back, and the whole 
space is filled ivith dancers, including a large 
number of children in the highest part of the 
picture, who are dressed as winged cherubs. 
Light stands beside one of the premiers, all 
of whom are her friends and assistants at dif- 
ferent stages of the pantomime. The rest of 
the act is filled by three divisions of the 
ballet La Renomme'e, by the full corps, La 
Civilization, by Miss Plindt, and -La Renais- 
sance by all." 

During this period, the disturbing fact is that 
the melodeon entertainers and the minstrels v/ere not alive to 
the opportunity. It had not been many years since a produc- 
tion of such spurious seriousness would have instantly kin- 
dled a merciless and side-splitting take-off in every music 
hall in town. Perhaps, in 1884, belief in the endless ex- 
pansion of the market v/as so general that no one could think 
of the limitations, let alone laugh at a satire of Progress. 
So the transformation scene in Excelsior , wherein Progress 
was disclosed enthroned and gleaming above Light's successful 
encounter with the dragon of Darkness, was applauded nightly 
for several weeks by a full house. 

Burlesque 202 

The San Franolsco News Letter for April 5, 1884 

gives still other and more profound reasons for the success 

of the piece: 

"The ballet girls are, generally, pretty and 
shapely. The three or four primas are excel- 
lent danseuses. Signora Brianza is a little 
beauty. The male soloists are good dancers 
and remarkably clever in pantomime, an art 
supposed to be lost." 

The gleaming foot of light upon the fallen head of 

darkness was too strong a memory for Excelsior* a immediate 

successor. Pocahontas , one of John Brougham* s burlesques, 

was "but a dismal affair as played at the Standard this 


"Prank Wright is vigorous, to say the least, 
in his conception of Powhattan. Virs. Saunders 
is comical as the school-teacher. Miss Helen 
Brooks is plump and pleasing in appearance as 
Pocahontas . The school girls are headed by 
sprightly Blanche Thayer and pretty Lillian 
Owen. That is about all that can be said 
about the performance. Charles T. Barbour is 
a most melancholy Captain Smith, His humor 
lies wholly in the peculiar angularity of his 

Not until June, with the piece A Bunch of Keys at 
the Bush Street Theatre, was burlesque able to divert any of 
the town's attention in its direction. Quite a let-down: 
from the cerulean heights of Excelsior where superhuman ab- 
stractions struggled for dominance on the papier-mache crags, 
to "life in a hotel": 

"Life in a hotel has never been so amusingly 
caricatured as in this entertainment. The main 
satire is developed and embellished by songs. 

* San Francisco News Letter, April 26, 1884, 

202 eupQ&Xt-: 

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t f't, • • • c -' . ^ Qfi'i 3 i Xl'c dir; V-., bnn bB qoX 6 ve.b 6 i o il cr ^3 c 

Bxorlesque 203 

dances and innumerable indescribable bits and 
freaks of an eccentric humor. \'Vhat may be 
called gymnastic joking is an important faciDr 
in the general amusement.... 

"The company is a clever ©ne... Bowser is the 
original Pittac\i3 Green in this city. He is a 
versatile actor. In Hazel Kirke he was a gen- 
teel comedian; in A Bunch of Keys , he is a gen- 
uine burlesquer. iJis Sn^ggs' is as finished a 
piece of work, the materials taken into consid- 
eration, as can be imagined, Canfield as Grimes, 
is the striking fig-ure of the lot. He causes 
irrepressible merriment b3'" his marvellous agil- 
ity and grotesque grimacing. Lena Merville's 
character is that of a sort of Tom Boy. A 
striking degree of originality marks everything 
she does...Mariette Nash is one of the spright- 
liest women I have ever seen. She is the light- 
est of mortals. Her dancing is feathery in its 

"With its many bits of fxm, which all have the 
potency of surprise, this is the most ludicrous 
entertainment that has been seen for years. If 
it has any faults, they are to be found in the 
superfluity of food for the risibilities, the 
show is too long by a half hour, and the olrous- 
like form of one or two of the episodes."* 

Prom the contemporary satire of A Bunch of Keys to 

the mythological extravaganza of Orpheus and Eyrydioe was the 

next quick change of bxorlesque in the strange 1884 season. 

The Bijou Company opened at the Baldwin Theatre July 18 

with a burlesque production of Offenbach's opera bo\iffe, 

Orphee a\ix Enfers . Any further attentuation of Offenbach's 

material was dangerous. He had already given the old myth as 

much lightness and humor as it could stand, and still hold 

together as some sort of consocvitive entertainment. The 

audiences of the Bijou Company's burlesque cf Offenbach deemed 

-"' San Francisco News Letter , June 7, 1884, 

• ' ■• ■ , •'•'■' , ■-■-■ • ' ■' r.'iij 

■■•■■■ . rq 

..',7.* •>;-■> §no-'"'''* ■:• ■ f-. ' 

Burlesque 204 

to agree that "perhaps of all the spinning, this new bur- 
lesque is the flattest and thinnest. "'J*' An ambitious failure, 
the production nevertheless stlraulated The Argonaut for July 
19 to an interesting generalization upon all mythological 
extravaganzas : 

"There was a grim humor in laying the first 
vandal touch of burlesque upon them (the Olym- 
pic gods). There must have been an exquisite 
absurdity in the sight, the first time that 
thunderous Jupiter stalked down upon the stage 
and executed a motto-song and a breakdown, and 
Venus, Juno & Co. went through a plantation 
walk-around. But to this generation, they are 
simply cheap material for burlesque." 

The press comments give a very inadequate recon- 
struction of the production. A symbolic figure. Public Opin- 
ion, was somehow integrated into the plot. To Augusta Roche, 
who is described as an impressive woman of heroic height, was 
entrusted the interpretation of this ominous figure; and ac- 
cording to the Argonaut , her interpretation would have come 
off if Miss Roche had been "fitly costumed": 

"As it is, she looks as if she had barely 
commenced her toilet and finished it in a fit 
of abstraction, with several yards of gold 

Cupid, the dainty, little messenger to Offenbach's tulle and 
tinsel hell, was played by Ida Miille. She was remembered 
not so much for her ability as a burlesquer as for her fur- 
ther pioneering over the horizons of undress. She and Pay 
Templeton were the first American actresses to dispense with 
tr-unks. Indeed, up to this point, the whole history of bur- 
lesque assumes the aspect of a fifty-year long strip-tease: 

•«• Argonaut, July 19, 1884, 

•-•ij;/d wen ■%'Jtril /Vs^f.-j^in^q&^-'-^ isJigs c 

j'a-iil'S " • ■ 

■ ■ 'ic; ■ . 

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reisfiei-'ql'ti.e snoX "■^•■' •- "-' ^'i -i 'o jto*qa^ ©rid sorcujac;^ 

Burlesque 205 

a dilated, slow-motion version of the rapid, twentieth- century 

phenomenon. The costumier, however, was balked as much by 

the conc6nti»ated undress of Cupid as by the ornate overdress 

of Public Opinion: 

"This little Ida Mulle fits into the wtnge 
of Cupid, and is mischievous and prankish with 
an innocent, heavy, German face, like a very 
boy's. Her costume, what there is of it, 
is, excepting the wings, singularly inappro- 

Mile. Vanoni, the French star, received the most 
and at the same time very diverse attention. It was said she 
was too French fcr mythological burlesque which was essential- 
ly English. She might be chic, but it was the chic of the 
Cafe' Chantant, But what was the matter with Cafe Chantant? 
Inevitably, she sang the famous French number "Pretty as a 
Pict\ire"; but perhaps it was, after all, a good song. She 
was clever, gay, energetic -- people bought their tickets 
chiefly to see her; but wasn't she a little specialized? 
Admitted that she was an expert specialist, yet she wasn't 
an actress. Therefore she was attracting as a specialist and 
not as an actress. And when she sang, she did not take the 
orchestra into accotint, but ogled right over their heads at 
the audience; the audience liked it but the orchestra was 
slighted. Flirtatious, yes, in a vivid, French way; but was 
she wicked enough to fascinate? She might have the superb 
polish of a French comedienne, but how much good was all this 
if she didn't fascinate?* 

* Ibid. 


eeeibnevo o^txifjsxp oAi x<^ ^^ blquO Jo QsetbcLV bei aii nopnoo oaM 

:.icIr''<tC:- ollcfu*! to 

ii^ .L ».-i: : 


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%vdi;«I ''ilb ©lie 11 

eiis .cf; 

.1.-: .zb^ecl ilQcii 1. 

Burlesque 206 

Digby Bell and Daisy Murdock received the only 
unqualified praise of the reviewers. Digby Bell had come out 
of opera study in Italy with enough voice for four years of 
singing in Italy itself, followed by an American debut in 
Fra Diavolo , and subsequent seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan. 
Burlesque proved to be his element, and after a few appear- 
ances in the lowly art, a ixnique drollery was attributed to 
him. The management of Orpheus and Eurydlce had cast him 
well. The few funny lines of the play were given to Digby 
Bell to say; and the traditional Mother Goose song, built out 
of completed local allusions, was given him to sing. 

Daisy Murdock received the high praise of compari- 
son with two of burlesque's topnotch stars. She was granted 
'"'a touch of that indefinable skill in burlesque which was 
second nature to little Ella Chapman, and in a less degree 
to Alice Atherton.""^ Pvirther, as Hebe, she ''made the hit of 
the evening'' in a vocal duet with Cupid, the duet being "a 
very pretty arrangement of Joseph D. Redding 's Del Monte 
waltzes,''*'-' The Argonaut reviewer hit upon a formula for her 
appearance; that of ''a beautiful child of twelve years, with 
the self-possession and abandon of a Parisian actress of 
about ninety years' experience. The combination has an effect 
a little odd." 

A few weeks later, light opera companies elsewhere 
in town had drained the Baldwin burlesque troupe of an audi- 
ence, and the Bijou Company comes into the light again in 

^ Ibid. 

■0 ••'^d'rJ ^-'bruM \. 

to siH^x •'iMo'l'-ro'i. o-3.i.^v ii^^/orye H^iv y:la:il ~ 

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•lo iix aKT" eria ^eo'eH ejb »ie- 

b£ldo-li: lo :iBi>. 


-JtcwB ns xo 

BurlGsquG 207 

August only because of the noisy secession of several members 
from the company when they could not collect their pay. The 
secessionists were Mile. Vanoni, Digby Bell, Laura Joyce, 
Ida Mulle, and Emma Mulle. 

Periodically; as during the spring of 1884, several 
kinds of burlesque were tried for their drawing power; and 
just as periodically, once these several kinds had failed to 
succeed in any startling manner, The Black Crook would be 
decked out again as a last resort. 

There again as if forever, were the tiers of gold- 
en staircases in the background of the stage. And again, as 
if forever^ the Amazonian hordes poured down the staircases 
^vith a spangled emphasis of their orbic peculiarities. The 
gauze curtains, again, as if endlessly, were gradually with- 
drawn to reveal finally, in the depth of the stage, the same 
old palpitating disclosure o 

The Argonaut for August 9, 1884 comments: 

"An ardent young man from the country was sit- 
ting alone at the Grand Opera House on the first 
night of The Black Croo k. He did not evince 
much interest in anything until the glittering 
Stalacta (Louise Dempsey) left her swan-drawn 
boat and walked dovm the steps. He immediately 
aroused himself, and it was evident that he had 
a touching belief ±a the reality of every charm. 
He even suspected that long golden mane of 
growing on the head, and regarded her glitter- 
ing sea-foam as an integral part of her. '0 
Goddlemighty;, aint she a beautiful woman?' he 
cried aloud in honest rapture, and to this 
moment does not suspect what caused the out- 
breaks of titters around him." 

'BoecT Y-t^o ^a;;, 

:f Id sIv 

e erict lo 

9B J WO cvofoet 




icfflctlqifiq irio 

"Ixn cr\/ 

Burlesque 208 

The summer wont out v/ith Ida Mulle very much in 
the public eye in a very private manner. Little photographs 
of her as Cupid in Orpheus and Eurydice were neatly framed 
for general consumption. Described in the press as a gem of 
the photographic art, the consumption was widespread. From 
how many dressers in how many boardinghouse rooms, did Cupid 
slant upward on his picture easel, at morning and at night, 
to feast the starved eyes? Perhaps this photograph is the 
origin of the Cupid Awake and Cupid Asleep pair of pictures 
which invaded the provincial American homes early in the 
twentieth century. Ida Mulle, despite her inadequacy in the 
burlesque of Offenbach, was profoundly successful. 

The graphical line of the history of San Francisco 
burlesque descends to an almost dead level for the period 
1884-1887. In 1884, the minstrels at the Standard Theatre, 
under the leadership of Charley Reed; delved for a moment 
into real restate with the burlesque \JVho Owns the Theatre? 
the old California being the orphaned edifice. But obscurity 
quickly wrapped round the details of the piece and silence 
reigned in the press. On two other occasions, in 1884, the 
minstrels held up the feeble light of the burlesque lanterns 
once in a travesty of Fedora , again in a burlesque of Called 
B ack, ''^ legitimate drama then running at the Baldwin. The fall 


Burlesque was Crawled Back. 


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d&Jivi. ^ .■ Li.t <■;■.; - ■ ■ 

Burlesque 209 

of 1885 witnessed a doiible debacle. Undine the Sp i rit of the 
Waters , a fairy spectacle in five acts and eighteen scenes, 
could not at all manage her head above water and drowned 
dismally'-, and the old Jules Verne spectacle. Around the 'Vorld 
in Eighty ^ 'DslJS , made an extraordinarily brief and disastrous 
circuit, I'Tiat happened next waS;, hj this time, as reflexive a 
thing for harassed theatrical managers as the secretion of 
saliva by one of Pavlov's dogs at the ringing of a bell-- 
The Black Crook was revived. The denuded, long-suffering 
extravaganza appeared this time with Japanese overtones. 
Everything could be traced to the rage of The Mikado . Gil- 
bert and Sullivan's operettas not only succeeded; they gained 
the oppressive currency of a modern. Tin Pan Alley tujie. 
There was a Ko-Ko dance step, a Japanese ballet, parasols, 
and cherry blossoms # Stalacta, ethereal, rope-suspended 
fairy of the original text, v;as now a stolid^ grimy Stalagma, 
relegated to an obscure niche in the orientalized transfor- 
mation scene. 

These few productions present almost the virhole case 
for burlesque during the loy; years of the eighties; except 
perhaps for Pay Temple ton's appearance in the fall of 1884 » 
But her engagement in San Francisco, nine years from the time 
when she had been feted at the Bush Street Theatre as the 
inimitable child star, was strictly limited to comic opera. 
And the critic of the Bulletin , September 18, 1884 was well 
aware of a distinction between light opera and burlesque. 

70 C; 

iqb V,-i 

.. i '•! '^ en r dp^o ta 


,:j ^ornx-T sj. 


i;0 encf hn; 


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<srcc,'j'r£>tT ^ctoJ. 




.f'jr'cf-I'w/cf fcr. 

Burlesque ^"^^ 

The quotation has to do with Harry Brown, leading man of 

Pay Templeton's company- 

"Mr, Broiim is a clever actor but he never did 
know where to draw the line. He interjects a 
fine burlesque performance into comic opera." 

Not until the fall of 1888 v/as Miss Templeton to perform on 

this side of the line for this chronicle. At that time, she 

was to be starred in a production of Evangeline during a 

return engagement of Edward "Everlasting'' Rice's burlesque 

troupe . 

Other extant details of the above-named productions 

only confirm conclusions alread3!- drawn. All the detritus of 

outworn convention was still clinging to the raised hulk of 

Undine, the Spirit of the iVaters ; 

"The ballet comes in the closing scene of 
the third act, with Miles. Tittel and Bergland, 
seconded by Miles, Lee and principal 
dancers. The foiorth act is crowded with special- 
ties too numerous even to be named here, but all 
more or less attractive and including a handsome 
maid of the Amazons. The fifth act ends with a 
transformation scene. "^'' 

And Mabel Bert, the feminine lead, v/as still draining dry the 

long-dry convention of "Beauty must be blonde," 

"The title role is entrusted to Miss Mabel 
Bert, whose beauty is indeed substantial rath- 
er than spirituelle, but who, in a becoming 
white dress and a wealth of golden hair makes 
an exquisite picture, and whose acting through- 
out is all that could be wished."*'^ 

The remote and terrible possibility is that Botticelli 
is guilty. The pre-Raphaelite painters had confronted all Eng- 
lish eyes with their peculiar conception of beauty. Botticelli 

-is- San Francisco News Letter, September 5, 1885, 

c^ronv ?:or}' 

•pEoX'tj/c ortll: 

IXr'l et<.^ Si:'ii:. 

' :-:>f 

r'xX o-f;t '!') cMs 


Ji.OT'jj^rta 3d Cv 


■ ,;..-i.'qo oxm--> vJriX aoru^inioVt . -. 

.^ s^ii;}' II. \ ,n\ia'ib viDfiSiXe enoieiriorcoo mixtfloo \'ric 

Io onao;^ '; i^rfj ni £0.iioo .lallecf erfT" 

feffiu'"'' :-t' - 5xjxr>i'i:cfti fcne evi;t-o :■ 

',1'j- -vii-) gnintjsib X.X/:<i3 bbw ^.b/---i '-•■• •■'•'■ ■■f"' •«> ■■.:■; "-^.-:>7>'' ;-,:;.• 
XecfB!^ '^.- •■ ' ' Jb'3:;8r'- *■-. ■• - -'•^■•- ar£T'' 

*• '•'».]: orfc'xv/ ad fcXvoo :icd'i Plij ei juo 
IlXsaiiioe :iarii ai- vJiJxoi.8eoq aXdEified- i>n;^- eJ^Jio^- edT 

,6361 »3- rr.ecf,Tt&;tq''> . .TC-r--.Vv" rv.'-i' :>'u.i:.',iet4 rtx- 

Burlesque 211 

came before Raphael, The pre-Raphaelites "adored" Botticelli, 
whose famous Venus Anadyomene is indisputably blonde, Lydia 
Thompson, first burlesque queen to indulge in peroxide reha- 
bilitation, could have seen pictures in an illustrated weekly; 
might even have attended a gallery. Ergo -• but explaining an 
effect cannot brij^ten it. And long before 1835;, the great 
weight of declorized hair ^^ich had fallen upon the American 
theatre had been described by bored witnesses as so many bales 
of jute. 

The oriental reincarnation of The Black Crook in 
1886 has already been hinted at. The plot structure of the 
burlesque itself had by this time become merely the weather- 
beaten portico within which the theatrical bird of the season 
laid its egg safely. Black Crook revivals were always suc- 

" The Black Crook has been such a success that 
it has been decided to keep it another week. 
The Japanese ballet grows in favor every night, 
and the little Pitti-Sing in the blue kimono, 
who dances to the last tip of her fingers and 
the last curl of her hair, gets a round of ap- 
plause all to herself every night, Mme.Tissot's 
cherry farce is the bright particular featiire 
of the specialties and no one is able to dis- 
cover from her accent whether she is a French 
woman, or a wild Virestern prairie girl,""^^ 

For the rest, the middle eighties belonged to Big 
Bertha, She arrived in San Francisco unannounced, after trav- 
els which were never divulged. She made out an attractive. 

-"- Argonaut , January 23, 1886, 

j:i& 9iipao.l-:... 

.» SCTjj '^^ .10 

...... .... : i.a 

^J XXc enisBlq 

• B 10 . 

-v."-:! 'lecfijs ,Jb©r;: ' ooRlonj;t'? na8 nX b'. .BdJieB. 

^&vl:ioan■iiB nn titto obBtti exi8 .JbesXi/vxX: lavon ©taw rfoirfw eXe 

Burlesque 212 

but nongeographic, case for herself. Her wealth, she declared 
was proportional to her avoirdupois. The long quest which had 
brought her to San Francisco was primarily a search for a 
suitor. But there were strings attached. The suitor, to 
prove his faith, must advance a sum of money named by Bertha 
which she would double out of her own resources and invest ac- 
cording to her o\iini light. The gag, though transparent, was 
successful. Suitors overvrhelmed her; their pittance was col- 
lected, and the mysterious investment was sworn to. There- 
after, the dividends remained so invisible that there v/as a 
general uprising. The plaintiffs, however quickly cognizant 
of the unpleasant odor which court procedure would arouse, 
smoldered against the groat Injustice and kept quiet. Even 
so, Big Bertha was arrested; but the nebulous charges evapo- 
rated and she was released with a tremendous amount of free 
publicity toward her secret theatrical ambitions. First, a 
one-man stand in an empty store on Market Street, where she 
displayed herself as the undisputed, and apparently undetect- 
able. Queen of the Confidence ^''omen; thence, directly to the 
Bella Union. Oofty Goofty was the partner of her act. No 
less a celebrity than Big Bertha, he was the moronic clown 
v/ho for years had walked up and dovm the Barbary Coast, making 
his living by persuading people to hit him with a bat he car- 
ried, at the cost (to them) of fifty cents. 

Burlesque of burlesque was common. Big Bertha and 


•" iwo ■ ; srle li- 

"MtiVfe-eaw ■.iff'r- 

-fri be bf 

:ii;:f f' i 


•-'tfiO itl^ Oft 

tnsEisoXqfii/ srI: 


Burlesque 213 

Oofty Goofty carried burlesque to its final,, remote, unonter- 
taining degree, Romeo and Juliet v/as the first subject. Big 
Bertha immediately raised the cry of foul play, and ^/ith no 
intention at draniatic criticism; for Oofty Goofty had not on- 
ly gained the balcony, but in the amorous tussle v/hich ensued, 
treated Big Bertha rough, she insisted; beyond any theatrical 
necessity, Oofty Goofty was quickly fired from the Thespian 
bandwa^"on; and the next week Big Bertha was billed alone in a 
condensed version of If azepjpa , The spectacular ride of Ada 
Isaacs ?<Ienkon,, '"' strapped to the fiery horse, became for Big 
Bertha, a lumbering ride on a donkey. The audience, poised 
ready for amusement, was siiddenly convulsed when the donkey, 
drawing back before the glaring footlights, pitched Big Bertha 
into the orchestra pit, then jumped in after her. 

At this moment. Big Bertha achieved her most dra- 
matic effect. Standing up tall in the midst of the anarchic 
condition of the orchestra pit the tremendous weight of her 
fury gained a moment of quiet during which she hurled such 
recondite vituperations at the crowd that no one could stand 
up against her. She then, through the backstage door, made a 
very realistic exit from her footlight career. 

The mi-Jdle eighties had brought the genius of pan- 
tomimic satire this low. The great shade of Grimaldl had 
certainly no place to hang his hat, and the development of 

■«- See Monograph on Adah Isaacs Menken, Vol, V, this series. 


;a.ij.:j fiifoioniB edit • ni ■ct;/d,'^nooI.'2Ci ©ri> 

/o^wi>»o " o rioxeisv bsanebnoo 

JboBiocf ^eortC'i>.n;.a. Sff? ,Y©Jf"f'£' J3 no obi t am ,Eiiiie6 

,vo;!-..or! Off*' ne'flv; ■ bo-- ^.:XnBl-)fcj.f?. a^v; ' «:JnniTf38'x;i:j ■i.-i' 

. ilnian/i' eriJ ■:n ©rfd^ fix ■I 

•xorf 1' 

red :Jefi:- 


Burlesque 214 

burlesque was apparently not yet through with the blind alleys 
of transformation scene, bespangled ballets, and half-baked 
puns. Excessively dreary is the present Imowledge, that well 
along in the twentieth century, Al Jolson would be making a 
name as Man Friday, the same role in the same burlesque that 
made a name for Willie Edouin, 

The first burlesque production of 1887, Little Jack 
Sheppard at the Alcazar Theatre, contributed no development 
to the history of burlesque, but did call forth some interest- 
ing expressions in the press; first, in relation to New York. 
There are few admissions of New York superiority in the bril- 
liant stage history of San Francisco. In regard to Little 
Jack Sheppard , the San Francisco News Letter for January 15, 
1887 has this to say« 

"After seeing the burlesque of Jack Sheppard at 
the Alcazar one can well imagine how comical and 
entertaining the New York production, with Nat 
Goodwin and Jonathan Wild, must be, ,,, The bur- 
lesque is full of clever things. The costumes 
are very pretty, and new, a novelty to us here. 
The make-up of each character is admirable. All 
the accessories are as they should be. The ef- 
fects are remarkable. .. .We get from this an idea 
of how these burlesques are gotten up in New 
York. And yet there is a lack of spirit to the 
whole entertainment that makes it fall flat." 

And the mention of Nat Goodwin gave the critic of 
the News Letter his second thesis, a discussion ^ the minstrel, 
Charley Reed, v^o played Goodwin's role in the local produc- 
tion. All dramatic critics in tov/n had long been solicitous 



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we.i -nx qxj 




about Reed's career. He was too good for minstrelsy, they 

said; a little more polish and he should step up into serious 

comedy. Here he was finally in a "white-faced" burlesque, but 

the critic's memory of Nat Goodwin took all the v/ind out of 

Reed's sails: 

"There is no funnier man than Nat Goodwin on 
the stage, the v;orld over, to-day. He is a re- 
markable mimic. Charley Reed is a funny fellow 
also, but in a more limited sense. He is a pro- 
vincial comedian. His humor apoeals to a re- 
stricted public, the public cf his ovm milieu, and 
not to the genoral public, To us here, v/ho know 
him of old, who like him and applaud him, he is 
far funnier than to those to whom he is merely 
one comedian out of a great many. His humor is 
essentially local. His sense of the ridiculous 
is awakened by matters of the moment in his im- 
mediate surroundings. He is no actor in the un- 
derstood sense of the word. He is accustomed 
from his minstrel career to have the stage to 
himself and is lost when others are with him in 
a scene. In Jack Sheppard he is excessively 
amusing. In a hundred ways, by a hundred little 
bits of humorous business, he keeps us busy in 
laughter, and yet we feol that something is 
wanting. His fun comes in intermittent flashes, 
betv/een which he disappears in solemn stolidity. 
There are no hyphens betviroen his comical bits,,.. 
There is in Reed the making of a burlesquer, 
but he needs tho training ^ivhich comes of facing 
strange audiences,"""' 

That Charley Reed, with a little study, could make 
a New York appearance as successfully local as a San Francisco 
appearance, does not seem to have entered the critic's head. 
Nor did the critic avoid the old trap of speaking about "the 
general public," If Reed, however, was capable of making ex- 
pert fun of "his own milieu, '' what should prevent him from 


^' San Francisco News Letter . January 15, 1887, 


'1-0 TivV v'm: !,a1- 


1. • OiwOii h 

,, ,, , ./■'*fi&<~"''^- y^ 

^:9v^ • ... , ,;r3efl 11 •'♦oiXcf- 

■I ■ I !.■»«. 

Burlesque ^^^ 

discovering the peculiarities of another milieu and playing 
them up just as successfully? The general public is an ab- 
stract everybody without ears or eyes, of no particular place 
or time. A norm is valuable in the determination of high or 
low blood pressure, tall or short, fat or thin, but of no val- 
tie whatsoever to dramatic criticism. 

The Bulle tin critic was more simply realistic in 
his coverage of Little Jack Sheppard : 

" Little Jack Sheppard drew 200 people more than 
the house will fairly accommodate. It was prob- 
ably not the burlesque so much as the return 
of Alice Harrison, and Charles Reed, who sus- 
tain the leading parts in the piece, «., It does 
not appear that the adapters of Little Jack 
Sheppard have done more than furnish a new 
framework in which the business of burlesque 
may be set. The scenes are suggested by the 
drama of the same name, and the filling in is 
what the company makes it,'*'"' 

Again it is indicated that the bones of any old 
structure would do as long as there was something to support 
the succession of variety acts. The decadence of the b\ir- 
lesque form vras still not complete enough for the commencement 
of the reverse process. 

These conclusions were confirmed by Edward Harrigan's 
burlesque, Investigation , v/hich, with an August opening, was 
the first burlesque to succeed Little Jack Sheppard in the 
year 1887, Harrigan had become famous in New York for the 
writing of sharply satirical burlesque. But the ideas of In - 
vestigation , a satire upon the small town legislator, had not 

* Bulletin , January 11, 1887. 


n'ii/:?r.'T on':" ■ Ois 

....... , .K» 

, \j;nnq;(ioo erf? (Jarfw 
Mo x- 

ctioqqi/c ocf ani;rf:t'va«>2 ejsv; e'X0r{;J c '.trov,f 9iJLr:t0i;/t:Je 

i^f^.•^^©orr3lIX|•:•.yO odcr --io'; .-<• /on© fld-f>iqrr.t.'5 nol ei/peel 


Willie Edouin, burlesquing 
a ballet dancer of the 

Harry Dixey, the "elastic"' 
policeman ln_ the burlesque, 


Biirleaque 217 

quite jelled. Again, the plot structure of burlesque was mere- 
ly the thread for a program of vaudeville. In fact, the news- 
papers spoke of a Romeo and Juliet burlesque as the feature 
of the bill. 

"There is something in Investigation that no 
one should miss seeing, the burlesque JRomeo and 
Juliet scene, ,, ,r/Irs, Yeamans is a genius. , ,,3:1© 
is perfectly unrestrained by fear of being ri- 
diculous, the bugbear of most women on or off 
the stage. She is entirely free from affecta- 
tions of any sort, perfectly natural and with 
a Y/onderful command of ludicrous effect. Her 
Juliet is genuine legitimate burlesque and as 
such remarkable,"''^ 

The small town legislator of the original idea had 

evaporated completely by the time the piece was concluded. 

How else can the following statement which closed the Bulletin 

review for August 2, 1887, be understood? 

"There were a number of Brahms* songs and 
choruses which went, as usual, very well and 
were even well encored*" 

Before one more of the rapidly successive periods 
of drought, there was another high moment for San Francisco 
burlesque. It was the appearance of Harry Dixey at the 
BaldvYin Theatre in November 1887, Dixeyfe fame was firmly bol- 
stered by 1200 performances of the leading role in E, E, 
Rice's burlesque, Adonis, New York had paid packed house 
homage; London likewise. In England, Dixey had gone so far 

'"■ San Francisco News Letter, August 6, 1887, 


p.boJtteq "■- . 

1/iTt C; 

:^ .*- 

Burlesque 218 

as to feature his imitation of Sir Henry Irving; but the 
lilnglish had taken it r/ell. In fact, Dixey's mimicry seems to 
have been so exact that the quality of burlesque was erased. 
Long heralded, solidly advertised as a four-generation manu- 
facturing concern; Dixey opened at the Baldwin, November 21,1S87. 
For once, Edward "Everlasting" Rice had a live, uni- 
fying idea for a burlesque. It seems, hov/ever, that it was 
quickly dissipated, 

"Dixey first appears as a statue chiseled by 
a vfoman who falls in love with her own work,.,, 
Adonis, while still a statue, finds a purchaser 
but the sculptress decllaes to sell it. It is 
arranged that he shall be endowed 'vith life and 
allowed to choose between the woman who had cre- 
ated him and the woman #10 desired to buy him, 
Adonis takes to life naturally and demonstrates 
his fidelity to the race by turning his back on 
his creator and following the woman with the 
heavier piirse. This, of course, is only the 
thread upon which the various special acts are 

Here was an opportunity to satirize all the cheap, 
enervating effects of art patronage upon the arts, but nei- 
ther Rice nor the times were up to exploiting it, 

''Adonis is a highly polished conglomeration of 
odds and ends with an exceedingly apt young man 
as the central figure of the porf ormance.'** 

No such man as Dixe^r had ever before starred in bur- 
lesque. He v/as not only thoroughly schooled in the art of 
burlesque gesture; he was also handsome enough to acquire a 
matinee idol reputation. His first performances in San Fran- 
cisco created a widespread feminine flutter. In all justice. 

-;:- Bulletin, November 22, 1887, 

ital B.1; 



'J $j5i-b' 

•vir h: 

^ erne s e iJ jC- 

G .0 J 

or ■=; ^ ! 

f>H -k pij-pe ' 

-tf^-^ 0J-' 

\'^'P>r'l -T^ '-.-Krfrf;ivnVr . ici jt.:^ oi I ^f : 

Burlesque 219 

however, it shovild be stated here that the peculiar concentra- 
tion on Dixey's legs had to do not only with their shapeliness, 
but also with the fact that Dixey had made his first mark in 
burlesque as the hind legs of a comic heifer. 

"He does not belong to the drama, vras never 
of it nor in it, that any one knows of. He is 
a bright and clever boy, who fell Into an age 
v;hen the most specious cleverness is fully ap- 
preciated. ,» ,He seems to have something of the 
temperament of Havrthorne ' s faun, and laughs, and 
sings, and dances life ay;ay because he likes to. 

''So much has been said of Dixey ' s legs that they 
have actually become historic, but nothing ia 
ever said of his feet,.,. They are large, long, 
and limber, and they take on a nev; expression 
v/ith every change of character ... .Now and then 
it crosses the mind of the spectator that there 
may be something consecutive in it but this, 
never, when Dixey appears. He is the most de- 
lightfully inconsequential of men. He is, in- 
deed, only an etherialized variety man, and of 
course a variety man's every appearance is an 
act..., He is deft, quick, and graceful in every- 
thing, and as a mimic he is inimitable."^"'- 

The second act of the burlesque served the famous 

piece de resistance. Dixey came out upon the stage as Sir 

Henry Irving. 

"It was said of this imitation in London that 
its absolute fidelity to the original was a 
source of much mortification to the English 
play-goers. They saw their favorite actor imi- 
tated so closely by an American bur lesquer, that 
had the tv/o been playing a dual role it would 
have been difficult, if not impossible, to tell^ 
which of the two was on the stage at the t ime ♦" '""'""■ 

The disconcerting thing about the ready praise of 
all the critics was the fact that Irving had not yet visited 

""^ Argonaut , November 26, 1887. 
yg-^-Jjulletin, November 22, 1887. 

i-a^ij^its :..;icjd-;ax!,.vCi'i.)JtVfH.-. , :■, - <; 

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: .fca/^i^.cii^; ■ - . :^m/*vi.- 'vie '??:■'■ : ■".'^■'^ 

, »9:tr .eieiii.x-. ..t)ri:.;QSij.B0.©n;rtfj:i7fB'. ea=xxf--JP<3'0'n/";i-'''5n^-tJB3niL 

X- &.iC':"v;«it3""-»-*» i'^'ss'i ex;-!- JO : oi'jss 'i-ave 
. ... .. t'it>:fo." 

^0 i&l 

n.i.xd^oifjd "EX. 






r^/? . 

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PBW Ctt" 

• •:' ;-1.r 

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=..i.j '- rfoid- • 

■■jt— <^.— 

Burlesque 220 

America, so that thore v/as really not a model for comparison 

with the renovmod imitation. The Bull e tin for November 22, 

1887 pulled in the reins a little and admitted this: 

"V/e infer that in the presence of an audience 
not familiar with Irving, the imitator touched 
up his performance with a little by-play the 
tragedian did not give the v/arrant fort" 

The San Francisco News Letter for December 10 rationalized 

its enthusiasm in a more recondite manner; 

"As in the case of a strong portrait painted 
by the brush of a painter who succeeds in re- 
producing on canvas not only the lineaments of 
his subject's face, but his character as well, 
as indicated by the expression of his features, 
the likeness is self-evident, though the origi- 
nal may be unknown, so in the case of Dixey's 
imitation of Irving, those to whom the latter 
is a stranger, feel instinctively that it is a 
wonderful likeness," 

But the Irving imitation was a small part of the 
entertainment. The rest of Dixey's powerful stage presence 
needed very little roundabout comment. To say that he v/as ob- 
viously the most subtle of the burlesquers of his time is the 
paradoxical manner of indicating his unique quality. The News 
Letter for December 10,1887 continues: 

"Dixey continues to charm and amuse the pub- 
lic by the ease and grace of his movements, and 
the delicacy, deftness and finish of his ver- 
satile genius,,,, He can be judged by no estab- 
lished standard, for he is the originator of a 
new branch of theatrical art. Ho has shovm us 
that burlesque may be made extravagant without 
becoming buffoonery, He has shovm us that satire 
may be drawn in lines that do not violate the 
rules of perspective and shading. His v/ork is 
rounded off by a hundred delicate little details 
of characteristic tom-foolery, that come invar- 
iably in the right time, in the right place," 

:eirf.1 Jp9*^X/tt£5S '^rtB oiii:r.£ j auiot arf-trfi .fjoiluq V8QI 

fc•'-::.^-.r:/:r ■Jx.t'Tt'T-^- 7;.-T-<T:t- --e^o £>£{:♦■.•• ni B A" 

'^.BEon-^jfil iis''it 
©licr lo cfrrsq XlBme a eavi- ncitiBmsit ghivil ©xlc} avQ -- 

c v / ^ V'. srlT ,rctxl£o-p ©upirtu eirf gniiBOxbni lo isansra Xxof.xoJbfi'^i.'jq 

>..;.. s:^. ,.:' oiX 

: -a 


Burlesque 221 

From these reflections of his art in the press, it 
Is easier and perhaps more correct to regard Dixey rather as 
further indication of decadence than of advance in burlesque. 
His finesse v/as in the direction of caviar, and a far cry from 
the broad, satiric clarity of the early clowns. At this point, 
a flashback to the early Cormncdia dell' Arte troupes is re- 
freshing. The portable theatre has been set up in the square, 
Ever7/body in town has crowded about the gay stage. The term 
"general public" takes on some meaning. The muddled life of 
the populace, the crosscurrents of their daily connections 
with legal procedure and the soldiery, the constant, public 
explosions of amorous entanglements, the officious superveil- 
lance of the church s these things are suddenly made clear and 
dramatic on the torchllt acting space. And the penetrating, 
pantomimic gestures are not only legible at a great distance, 
but are understandable to the great variety of heads in the 
crowd. The whole life of the time is put on dramatic exhi- 
bition and everybody comes to behold it. 

As if not to take a chance with the enthusiastic 
public response to Harry Dixey, the managers of the Tivoli 
and California Theatres kept San Francisco audiences terrifi- 
cally on the move with A Trip to the Moon , and immediately 
thereafter Around the ^'^/orld in Eighty Days . 

The lunar trip was initiated at the Tivoli as holiday 
entertainment during the last days of December 1887, But it 


iei acoxid- 

baa •y.i 

y'ixo (• 

.woi n 


•que. gjjoj: Dial's 

-Irixs r.l;ri: 

asiixrl. ;tio*uf£io ens lo err> I 

MirioicJ- eti;t no cv 

I ©loriw ©riT 

■■-- r'-.;,^^ ^^, 

ilovi; .... 

^l iuS ,V88J. 


Burlesque ^^^ 

proved as dull as the raagio boat trip through the plcti.ired 
tunnel on Coney Island. The inadequate cast served only tore- 
mind the reviewers of Alice Harrison and "u A. Mestayer, who 
stood out garishly in the waxworks of memory as the leads of 
the topnotch cast in the same burlesque years ago at the 
California Theatre, Berti Crawford v/as making her debut, upon 
which silence only descended, except for a quiet and frigid 
virreath from the San Francisco News Letter (December 31, 1887 )s 

"Miss Berti Crawford is pretty and vivacious, 
but both in acting and singing she is devoid of 
the requisite qualities for success." 

Offenbach, original perpetrator of the music for A 
Trip to the Moon , was this time literally snov/ed under. Al- 
most all the songs were omitted In deference to a tone-deaf 
cast, and a snowstorm tranf ormation scene v/as constituted the 
feature of the piece. Today, the only note of interest in the 
production is the statement of the Argonaut for December 24, 
1887 that, aside from Berti Crawford making her debut , the house 
would be lighted by electricity, "which is something new this 
side of the Rockies," 

Around the W orld in Eighty Days , which opened at the 
California towards the middle of January 1888, offered a trip 
no more exciting than its predecessor. Kiralfy had been given 
the superintendence not only of the ballet routine, but also 
of the spectacular effects jand although a successful choreog- 
rapher, stage mechanics were evidently outside his loiowledge. 

-'•'- - ' iii '":■'"' .'">'^i ' ' 'noO no Xo/our;' 

-^^bneo&oio vino or.. 

&iev: Bf^noe erf:J I 

,9oalq oric' 
afi:t Bl 
Qftuari • • 19G moil ebl&s^icdj V&81 

'-■• ■■r'^Jtoi'xic&£& Y X scf blsso' 

"•eeljfooH • 

Burlesque 223 

"The spectacular effects are, as usual with 
Kiralfy, ridiculous failures. The Union Pacific 
train in the play, is an inexhaustible fund of 
amusement, In its brief passage across the stage 
it indulges in a series of the wildest antics. 
The cars run off their hind trucks, telescope 
into each other, and to cap the climax, the 
tender, with a sudden inspiration of motive 
power, pulls the cars, leaving the locomotive 

With this last pathetic attempt at locomotion and 
the resultant standstill, burlesque production looked for life 
in a recrudescence of familiar splendors, The Black Crook may 
have been somewhat dim and worn but it v;as still a reliable 
ace in the hole. Its production this time overlapped the last 
dying fall of Around the World in Eig hty Days . 

As ballet master of The Black Crook , Kiralfy's stock 

rose noticeably, 

"Henry Irving himself could not have produced 
a more artistic and brilliant effect than the 
outpouring of the King's troops from the pil- 
lared gates of Babylon, It is in large spaces, 
in general effects like this, that I\1r, Kiralfy, 
giving rein to his picturesque and glowing fancy, 
can produce pictures as vivid, as gorgeous, as 
startling and intense as the paintings of 
Benjamin Constant or Henri Regnault,"'-^""" 

'"Tiether or not under Kiralfy' s guidance, the cogs 

and sprockets v/ere again a hit-or-miss matter, the conch-like 

boat in which Rudolph rode into the glistening caverns of 

Stalacta, jerked on its cable and arrived at its destined shore 

by a series of spasmodic lurches. Count i"'olf enstoin was to 

have thought out his black machinations against a backdrop 

-J>- San Francisco News Letter , January 14, 1888, 
-""::- Argonaut , January 1, 188^ . 

e'/s^<^;nc'>o I 



ill-id o!U- 

,H86i ,.^ 

Burlesque 224 

depleting a thick, gloomy, German forest, but the backdrop 
descended only half way, then remained suspended for the rest 
of '"'olf onstein' s >Tcene. "/hen the backdrop was finally per- 
suaded to descend to the floor, the scene had changed, and the 
sunlit, bab'jling broo]- referred to by the characters v/as no 
more than a vague, offstage rumor. 

Such embarrassing moments for the creaking, skeletal 
armor were quickly hushed up and passed over by interstices 
of the shiniest, newest of vaudeville teams, Bibb and Bobb, 
the Onger Sisters, and the Dare Brothers v/ere cosmetics for 
the old face. \hen the air in the overstuffed parlor became 
insupportable, there viras a swift interjection of the latest 
team of "musical eccentricities" jor the beautiful rather than 
talented sisters would dance rather than sing; or the air dev- 
iltries of the acrobatic twins would catch the boredom of the 
audience up to breathlessness. Burlesque, supposedly the main 
dish of the bill, had been superseded in interest by the hors 
d' oeuvres. 

The real appetite of the public v/as in the direction 
of light opera. And the impresarios complied. For the balance 
of the 1888 spring, light opera productions wore evoryv/here 
dominant. Burlesque did not come forv/ard again until Edward 
''Everlasting" Rice appeared in July with advance notices for 
another production of his Evangeline . He had meditated the 
market, and the zigzag ''hay v^hilo the sun shines" process of 


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Burlesque ^^^ 

his thought concluded that perhaps Evangeline was not a bur- 
lesque at all, but, right up the alley of the times, a comic 

"r.Ir. Rice, author of Evangeline , is in doubt 
whether to class his work as a Comic Opera or 
as a burlesque. It commenced life as a bur- 
lesque but some recent compositions have been 
of a higher character."""'' 

The ''recent compositions of higher character" no 
doubt have reference to the last musical interpolations of 
Rice into the ever-fluid structuro of his burlesque. Evange - 
line , born, Rice admitted, of low parentage, had been lifted 
on the wings of song to a high estate. The Argonaut for Sep- 
tember 17, 1888, ran the following notices 

"The principal people in Rice's Evangeline Com- 
pany, who commence a short season at the Bald- 
win on Monday evening, are Pay Templeton, Louise 
Montague, Lila Blow, Annie Perkins, Amelia 
Glover (the little Pav/n), Cora Tinnie, George 
S. Knight, George K. Fortescue, James S, 
Moffett, Edv;in S, Tarr, and Edward Morris." 

Rice's company commenced its September engagement 
with a bit of fortuitous publicity, Louise Montague, known 
(Inexplicably, at this date) as the Ten Thousand Dollar Beauty, 
raised a great deal of dust when she discovered the San Fran- 
cisco showbills gave more prominence to Pay Templeton than to 
herself , A great noiae in the dressing rooms got to the stage- 
hands, and from the stage-hands to the world. Louise shouted 

5:- Bulletin , July 17, 1888. 

^.v/fC"?.'. "^C. 


' <:•.'> )• •! "rf ':."« .' ; -• f !'/"''.■ -».'{•; to.— Ar":-' J' ■^' T i-rr;(i-'- s- 

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— l^I.C'l 'i ■'.''. ■','■''■ !V Cf-'-iF. d"''"'- 

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vnei ,71 vi;..-:. ._,,u 

Burlesque 226 

the fact that she averac^ecl more floral tributes per perform- 
ance than Pay. And besides, had not Ho¥/oll Osbourne, Pay's 
reckless, gambling friend, given her a definite '"go-by?" 

San Prancisoo tittered and talked, and waited im- 
patiently for the opening night. There v/aa not only a fine 
feud of the prima donnas to observe; there v/as also the gossip 
about Pay's trunkless legs to corroborate. 

It was definitely Pay Templeton's show, Louise 
Montague might have been dubbed The Beauty Ten Times Grand by 
the International Committee for the Judgment of Pulchritude, 
but said comraitteo had sxu-'ely missed the mark in so doing, for 
Louise was no beauty. She had a voice, the press agreed, but 
it needed training, and the race itself v/as no place to train 
a dark horse. But Pay Tompleton v/as e:cactly what she was de- 
clared to be s 

"Fay Templeton's figure is ideal, and bubbles 
up out of its tights as lavishly as Venus 's did 
out of the sea. The most delicate imagination 
would not have a surfoit in dwelling on what is 
not displayed with charming franlcness. Yet, 
somehow, one would as soon accuse Venus or Puck 
of iiranodesty as Pay, Undress many another wom.-i.n 
to the extent that she displa7/3,and the shock to 
the sensibilities would be terrific,"'"" 

But there was somo disagreement as to hov/ much San Francisco 

sensibilities could take. Rice was no doubt delighted when 

the Bulletin for September 18, 1888 intimated there might be 

a tinge of immorality in Templeton, not enough for a court 

case, just the right quantity for good publicity^ 

-"- San Francisco Nevtrs Letter, September 22, 1888, 

M\f 91 


,6881 \2S 

Burlesque 227 

"(Pay Temple ton' 3 ) costume as 'Gabriel' v/as 
handsome; but is open to the objection that ex- 
posure is made a stud3'-. There is a point up to 
which display in a piece of this character is 
pleasing to the artistic eye, but the line or 
point should be kept carefully in viovif, A ten- 
dency to got on the m-'ong side should be cor- 

"The cost\iines were gorgeous, the play of lights ar- 
tistic and the Amazons themselves exceedingly pretty girls,"*" 
But the humor of the piece had disappeared, George Knight's 
imitation of General Butler came off only in the matter of the 
General's bad eye, "Mr, lOiight looked as a distant relative 
might v/ho inherited only the defect,''* And the Lone Fisher - 
man as interpreted by James 3, J'loffett had better romainod 
alone and invisible, "T he Lone Fisherman as a novelty could 
once beguile us of a tolerant smile, where now he wakes a 

As for the words themselves which were hurled at the 
atidience, Betsy B, of the Argonaut (September 24, 1888) per- 
mitted herself an interesting divagations 

"If a man were to make a puji in general society 
today, people would suppose he vms not v/oll,.,. 
But the reader of Lacey's Acting Play3_ will 
find whole vol'umes of burlesques, partly in 
prose, partly in doggerel, the hiomor of which 
consists exclusively of puns. He who reads them 
today feels a tender commiseration for the gen- 
eration v/hich enjoyed that kind of thing," 

" Evangeline appears to be one of these pieces, 
resurrected from a grave in which that class of 
literature was peacef\illy sleeping. The per- 
sonages vie with each othor in punning, ;?.vange- 
line makes puns;her lover, Gabriel, makes puns; 

-:>- Bulletin , September 18, 1888, 
^5-;:-Ar£onau¥, September 24, 1888, 

|>onJ:ofrtoi ■■ 

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.;■ eXiiTSQ'd 

♦ ...1.1 

Burlesque ^^® 

they all make puns in fierce rivalry, and they 
have to enunciate their verhal acrobatics with 
painful distinctness for fear the audience 
would lose them. This involves a strain on the 
audience v/hich is very trying, ''/hen Evangeline's 
father reproves her for careless diction, he 
warns her against the use of 'slanguage*; and, 
after an effort, one realised that a pun has 
been committed,''' 

But the people liked the artfulness of Pay Temple- 
ton's undress. And apparently there was no satiety in the 
American public for /unazon marches, Evangeline packed the 
Baldwin Theatre for four weoks, and, with the audience still 
flowing in the right direction. Rice's company opened immedi- 
ately with its second production, The Corsair , 

Comment upon The Corsair was scant. It was a more 
entertaining burlesque than Evangeline , and that was about the 
size of it. The cast remained the same; the allure was the 
same. It was a matter of investing in a new set of costiunes, 
"as bright and handsome as money can make them."*"'' And Fay 
TeiTploton; as a matter of course, was given the title role. 
Things vfere getting dull. The hair pulling recriminations of 
the luminaries had died down. It was obvious by this time 
that Templeton's was the star which filled the houses. 

Besides, other things wore in the air. The Bulletin 

for October 6, 1888 had run the following annomicement s 

"M, B, Loavitt has returned from Europe with a 
number of new attractions. Among them are the 
Lydia Thompson English Burlesque Company and 
Leavitt's Polly and Burlesque Company," 

•}{• Bulletin, October 23, 1888, 

\,fi^i ^^^ 

•Jo Siiiciif. 

Burlesque 229 

Leavitt, by this time, had become manager of the 
largest vaudeville circuit in America; and a vaudeville cir- 
cuit must be constantly refreshed, Leavitt's tactic was an an- 
nual transatlantic trek, at which time he put the best European 
performers under contract. His last visit to London had given 
him tho idea that a farev/ell tour of The States by Lydia 
Thompson was sure to be a money-maker, so he sought out the 
great and original blonde. She had invested hea? fortune badly j 
she was easy to talk to. But she romonstratod her age — twen- 
ty years had passed since hor first American appearance --and 
where was tho dazzling cohort of Amazons who had mado up her 
famous company? 

Leavitt put the whole proposition on the basis 
of honorary revival. The public would not be made to 
expect a Lydia Thompson, concealing her age beneath heavy 
layers of make-up; the publicity, instead, v;ould emphasize the 
graceful willingness of the first and greatest burlesque queen 
to reappear for a last time. Besides, Lydia was not entirely 
superannuated as an entertainer. Vigorously in her forties, 
Lydia was still somevvhat the ideal figure of the times. And 
the old vivacity of expression had not dimmed appreciably; at 
any rate, not if footlights were put between her and the ob- 
server. It was a big scoop for Leavitt, and all other theat- 
rical announcements for the 1888-1889 season paled in com- 

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Burlesque 230 

Apparently, no winter season — even with Lydia 
Thompson announced for January 29 at the Bush Street Theatre 
— could elapse without a production of The Black Crook . The 
management of the Grand Opera House was intrepid enough to 
attempt the annual revival. Ill-advised, certainly, for there 
was no headlined star, no new spectacular effect, no extrava- 
gant costuming. There was just The Black Crook , and less of 
that, surely, since another year had fallen upon its slowly 
collapsing architecture. 

The 1889 resuscitation of Stalacta was a wasted ges- 
ture, but the comments of the San Francisco News Letter critic 
(January 19,1389) have unusual importance for this chronicle: 

" The Black Crook gots sheared of its original 
'glories' more ^and more at each presentation. 
Originally a melodrama of the rankest kind, 
what is it now? It is about a quarter of a 
century since Charles M.Barras v/as haunting the 
theatrical managers of New York to Induce them to 
produce a new melodrama. No one would touch it. 
Finally one of them, v/ho had a ballet troupe on 
his hands, and did not know what to do with them, 
took the melodrama, cut it liberally, introduced 
his ballet, tacked on a transformation scene as 
a peroration, and made a sensation and a success. 
Barras made a fortune out of it, but died brokcai- 
hearted because his 'beautiful play' had been 
spoiled by the ballet,. ,, Probably not one 20thof 
the original play is given this week at the 
Grand Opera House. The rest is ballet. We 
could oven dispense with the one-twentieth, it 
is so insufferably stupid, Tho operetta ballet, 
introducing dances to music and with costumes 
from The Mikado , Patience , The Little Tycoon and 
other operas. Is original and taking. The Black 
Crook will be continued another week. 

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jic-.-,.^ i.ii 

Burlesque 231 

"To speak the language of the prize ring, bur- 
lesque received a black eye when H, M» S> 
Pinafore was launched on the London theatrical 
docks, and from that » knock-down' blow it haa 
never recovered* Burlesque has never seemed so 
fxanny since* We took it previous to that day 
because we had nothing else to take. Really 
there is little excuse for it now." 


"Lydia Thompson, who might be called the mother 
of burlesque in this country— if burlesque ever 
had a motherly age— will appear at the Bush 
Street Theatre on January 29th. She recently 
met with a slight mishap in New York. It seems 
that her silk costume had not been finished 
when she left England, and so it was sent to her 
in a letter by mail. The postal authorities, 
suspecting that all was not right, opened the 
package and notified her that her tights were 
dutiable, and that it would cost her Two Dollars 
to obtain her theatrical wardrobe. The Two Dol- 
lars were paid, and the engagement at the Bush 
Street Theatre will not be postponed,"* 

With this bit of heavy-handed ballyhoo, the press 
prepared San Franciscans for the great advent. The burlesque 
Columbus started things off on January 26, three days ahead of 
the scheduled opening. The burlesques Penelope and Robinson 
Crusoe followed in quick succession, with an immediate revival 
of Penelope when Robinson Crusoe failed to draw. 

As for the productions themselves, the press had 
little to say. The Bulletin announced on January 28 that 
there wore "good specialists in the company, and a number of 
pretty girls in picturesque costumes, who sing in the chorus, 
form in groups, and keep things generally in motion," The 

* Argonaut , January 7, 1889, 

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BurlGsquG 232 

San Francisco Nev/s Letter for February 9, 1889 made the easy 
discovery that "the company may be said to be clothed in 
smiles, as it were, and not much else,..," The Bulletin for 
February 12 laid the failure of Robinson Crusoe to "an evident 
tendency to rely upon special acts instead of making the play 
the first attraction." These v/ere the inevitable statements 
which needed no reiteration, the easy echolalia of tired 
dramatic critics confronted v/ith a boring rehash of yes- 
terday's excitement. 

It v/as another matter when the press came to vo-ite 
about Lydia Thompson. Her reappearance was a touchstone to 
memories of the entire post-war period. 

"^/Then Miss Thompson and her golden-haired 
Amazons first landed on .Imerican soil, they did 
not exactly follow the example of the Pilgrim 
fathers, 'who, ' says Secretary Evarts, 'first 
fell upon their Icnees and then fell upon the 
aborigines, ' but there was a similarity in the 
mode of attack. They came over a long time ago, 
not quite on the Mayf lov/er , not even 'Before de 
Y''ah, ' the B, C. period of American history but 
somev?here in the late sixties. They were quite 
new, nothing of that kind had ever been seen be- 
fore, and they were really handsome ."'''' 

According to the Bulletin for January 28, Lydia 

Thompson "has retained her neat figure j her vivacity, grace 

and expression. She does not sing with the same effect as at 

one time in her career, but in other respects she does not 

seem much changed," Marie '".Williams and Rose Newhara, Lydia 's 

co-stars in the 1889 company, might be proficient assistants. 

-:s- Argonaut , February 4, 1889. 

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■ .■^&QX ■ ^^ ■■X%tisj'^(}ol , :.'iSiH\Qr\i.h : 

Burlesque 233 

but what chance would they stand against Pauline Markham and 
Lisa -''eber, Lydia's co-stars In 1868? 

"Miss Pauline Markham Avas the beauty, and al- 
so was extravagant enough to have a rich pleas- 
ant voice. For tvio years she v;as the adnira- 
tion of New York, .. ,I!iS3 Markham v/as as luxuri- 
ous and extravagant as an 'Ouida' heroine. Her 
apartments shamed in richness those of Prince 
Djalina, all black marble and v;hite velvet, with 
ermine carpets. Her diamonds v/ere the finest 
to be had, her pearls were like those presented 
to Lady Corlsandi by the princely Lothair, She 
even had the honor of being put into a very 
stupid novel. She rose to the crest of the wave. 
Years after, ugly, old, and ill, she appeared in 
Buffalo, was forced through sickness to break 
her contract, and died in poverty and obsciirity, 

"While Miss Marldiam was the beauty. Miss Lisa 
Weber was the brains of the company. Miss 
Weber was of good parentage and had been edu- 
cated and brought up in a cultivated manner. 
She was not a bit pretty, but she was clever. 
She v/as one of those people who can do anything, 
...Miss -/eber, too, could compose music, and 
sing, and v/rite, -.fhen the company got into dif- 
ficulties she could alv/ays get them out again. 
Upon one dreadful occasion a wicked cos turner 
played them false, and Miss Weber designed and 
executed costumes more ravishing than anything 
ever seen before, 

"In the course of time she too disappeared v/ith 
the other old familiar faces, to reappear some 
six years ago in Leadvillo, then booming glori- 
ously. She had several irons in the fire, and 
was a subdued and preoccupied woman of business. 
She v/as a rentiere, owning several houses, and 
she had the sole right to some popular comic 
operas. Then she opened a little restaurant, 
where the fare was extra dainty, and epicures 
could get Eastern oysters less than three v/oeks 
old, and various delicious made-dishes. It was 
not^a success, though Miss V/eber devoted herself 
to it. She v/as a familiar figure in those days, 
arguing with the butcher and haggling at the 
fruit-stands over a box of half -ripe California 
pl\ims. She was probably as good-looking as she 


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e>d:! -^ . • ^- . ---- 

Burlesque 234 

had Qvor been — a tall, plain woman with rough 
reddish hair, a shrewd peaked x^'ace, and beauti- 
ful dark-brovm eyes, probably a heritage from 
her mother, who was a Portuguese, She always 
wore a seal-skin coat and a black turban hat, 
alwa^i-s walked rapidly, brushing hor way be- 
tween the groups of miners on the kerb, with a 
brown paper roll under hor arm, and an absorbed 
expression in her handsome eyes, 

"The memories of the others are va^^'Ue, Edith 
Challice, one of the most beautiful, is dead. 
It was she v/ho went to a New York Charity Ball 
in a white -silk dress with the front studded 
with artificial tea-rose bud3--a fashion which 
v;as afterward widely copied — and a white-lace 
shawl pinned round hor nock. In those days the 
four hundred attended the charity ball, and even 
mingled with the d Mincers in a magnificent sort 
of way. They were staggered by her beauty.,.. 

"Out of the galaxy of stars, Miss Thompson alone 

Quickly recalled to mind, these personalities were 
again as quickly forgotten. The past which had been cleaved 
open by Lydia Thompson's farewell tour, congealed again be- 
hind the printed page where amusement headlines shifted their 
attention to the opera season at the Tivoli. The violent dip 
in burlesque production was not to be picked up again until 
late in the ensuing fall. 

Bolossy Kiralfy's company opened at the California 
Theatre in the burlesque Antiope , November 15, 1889, The pro- 
duction was principally an ejdilbition of the Kiralfy ballet. 
The pretense at plot was perhaps worse than none at all. Two 

* Argonaut , February 4, 1889, 

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■■ will — a— ^Wlwfcl—*w» 

Burlesque 335 

story elements continually interrupted, the gyrations and tab- 
leaux of the dancers. There was the triangular strain of the 
Prince, the v^Meen, and Imtiope, The Queen loved the Prince 
and the Prince loved Antiope. This fact was reiterated in 
"blank verse, colloquial /unorican, strenuous English, and 
finally in stately Alexandrines,"'^ with the odds obviously 
favoring the Prince-Antiope combination. And there was the 
story thread of Discord and Concord, ViHienever the valentine 
lace of the dance background had to be changed, this ancient 
pair came before a simple flat towards the front of the stage 
and westled v;ith their mighty theme. The theme of the con- 
versational encounter was so large that it was completely dis- 
sipated by the time it arrived at a hasty newspaper review; 
but the costuming of the titanic combatants was beautiful and 
v/as there for everybody to see. 

Somehow these moments of scene-shifting boredom v;ere 
to be compensated for by the dancing of the soloists and the 
ballet. There was Mile, Paris, "prima assoluta" of the en- 
tire troupe, 

"The prima assoluta. Mile, Paris, is of the 
Italian school at La Scala, the school of which 
Cavalazza is now the head. Their dancing always 
seems more surprising and remarkable than beau- 
tiful. It is a sort of to-ur de force that 
raises your wonder, but not your admiration. 
Looking at Mile, Paris flying across the stage 
on the tips of her toes, one cannot but marvel 
at the agility and dexterity of her movements, 
but of grace there is none.,., She is more like a 

«• Argonaut, November 18, 1889. 

3SS ^up&Qltsj' 

Giici ■.: ..«X'iJ arid- tiL'n fi'\oii^ .-(V. 

er .aqolct 

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oricf lo e • i , sXIM . 

.c'3CX ,''i<!I-— rodi.^ovbH ^11 

Burlesque 236 

piece of steel mechanism than a v/oman, every 
movement exact, but there is no individuality in 
robbing it of most of its charm, """■ 

In a moment of good management, Kiralfy decided that Mile. 

Carraencita should appear immediately after Mile, Paris, 

"Could anything be more unlike Mile, Paris 's 
performance than Mile, Carraencita ' s performance? 
This is all personality, the individuality of 
the danseuse is almost too highly colored. 
There is no observable method in her v/ild pos- 
turing, or perpetual sinuous motions, but there 
is something barbaric in their unrestrained 
spontaneity. Carraencita looks as if she might 
invent her strange dance as she went along^ 
inspired by the rhythmic throb of the music , "'*" 

This excellence of the "primas" put the inadequacy 

of the "sectmdas" in a very bad light. And as for the rank 

and file coryphees, they were found "so out of training and 

nervous that they destroy some exceedingly pretty effects,"'"' 

At one point in the burlesque, the Queen pleaded with her 

Amazonian follov/ers that they 

"Swear death to the whole Illyrian race 
Or die in the attempt I" 

But the ballet was recalcitrant v/ith bad training and stage 
fright, and the authoritative order was heard finally to come 
from the wings: ''Get down, get down I" carae the hoarse com- 
mand of the director. Belatedly then, the Amazons knelt, 
with more awkwardness than grace, before their Queen, each 
one racing to pronounce the lost cues "We swear t V/e swear I" 
The denouement of the extravaganza depicted the 
grandiose annihilation of the Queen and her Valkyrian phalanx 
in their assault upon Illyria, 

'Jt- Ibid. 

0£S 6ifpco. 

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X-*" I :.^ LiiftG eeolfc.': ■. 

.tibial •" 

Burlesque 237 

''The Queen is brought in^ chained. She bows 
her head and tames her heart of fire to the ex- 
tent of forgiving the Prince and his bride and 
blessing themj whereupon there is another act 
devoted to revelry, and the curtain falls on a 
grand tableau, with Mile, Paris pirouetting in 
the midst, "-'^ 

The time between 1390 and 1900 is a fixed period 
only for the career of David Henderson, impresario of the 
so-called "Chicago style" in burlesque extravaganza, Hender- 
son's success was more the success of a city, than his ovm. 
Chicago was coming into maturity as the great, central city of 
the country, with a concomitant slang, a typical set of jokes^a 
manner of dress, and some indigenous ideas for dance steps, 
Henderson, as manager of the Chicago Opera House, was on the 
ground floor of this rise of a city. In an effort to summarize 
the significance of Henderson and the Chicago extravaganza, 
the San Francisco Bulletin for November 25,1893 came round to 
the following conclusions s 

"The manager of the Chicago Opera House is fin 
de siecle; his methods are up-to-date--perhaps 
just a trifle ahead of date, ., .Extravaganza, a 
style of entertainment whose introduction into 
this country is due to the forethought and bold 
policy of David Henderson, is nothing more nor 
less than English pantomime Americanized, And 
its American progenitor takes the same liberty 
with tradition, fable and legend as do the au- 
thors of those gorgeous but stupid spectacles 
v/hich had been associated for fifty years with 
the historic English play-house in Drury Lane, 

'"- Ibid. 


■ - . ; ■ -^r^O f.i. . ■ 

■:■ ._• ■ , ;. .\. . . .^ ,.u ,.., ■ . , ^.oijfiO'' ■ --». -■ ■ 

■ •":♦''■ ''•-',' itoa 4 ificrtg srW " ■•■■ ^' 

. ■^^^I 

Burlesque ^^^ 

"But the American extravaganza is a great ad- 
vance upon its English prototype. American au- 
diences would not accept English pantomime at 
any price. In American extravaganza the action 
is lively, the music is catchy, the effect is 
vivid. The appeal is made primarily to the mind 
and not to the appetite." 

That Americans had been v/itnessing extravaganzas 
years before Henderson's ascent seems not to be taken into ac- 
count. It became clear that Henderson's peculiar contribution 
v/as the unstinting splendour of the mounting (gained, accord- 
ing to the advertisements, for his patronage of the famous 
London costumiers), together ^'dth the raciness of the Chicago 

His company first appeared in San Francisco in Sep- 
tember 1890, with the extravaganza of The Crystal Slipper . 
Prom 1891 through 1894, the Henderson company appeared each 
consecutive fall. May 1896 and December 1899 marked the last 
two of its appearances. Throughout the decade Sinbad remained 
the most popular of the Hendersonian extravaganzas > filling 
four of the company's San Francisco engagements as was the 
case with The Crystal Slipper ^ Ali Baba and Aladdin Jr. v/hich 
filled out only one engagement each. 

The Bulletin for September 22, 1890 described The 
Crystal Slipper as "...a travesty on the fairy tale of Cinder- 
ella , embellished with modern music and local hits of the most 
amusing quality,.,." Illustrious b\:irlesque stars headed the 
company. Eddie Foy, Louise Montague, and Ida Mulle,as leads 
in the acting contingent, were already stage favorites in 




OBI ar* 

-..d2 ^6^-' 


Bxirlesque 239 

San Francisco, The ballet group of the company was led by no 
less a proniiero danseuse than Praulein Clara Qualitz. These 
people were to form a permanent company which was to carry 
Henderson successfully through the 1894 season. At that time, 
Eddie Poy was to branch off with a company of his ovm — lugu- 
brious maneuver for both the neophyte Impresario and the 

In 1890, no rift in the company was visible, Eddie 
Poy as the comic character, Yosemite, in The Crystal Slipper , 
achieved gestures and sprung gags which tickled the most re- 
sisting of reactions, and the house roared applause . Ida 
Miille was petite if not poignant as Cinderella, and Louise 
Montague strutted an attractive figtire as the boy Prince, 

"The costumes are of the richest character 
indescribably grand in texture and beautiful in 
composition of colors. The scenery is magnifi- 
cent, well-drawn, highly colored and new in de- 
sign and perfect in finish. The wood scene in 
the second act, preceding the corps de ballet, 
is a charming piece of painting, both v/ith the 
backing that reflects the shadows of the trees, 
leaves and vines,,,, The ball-room in the palace 
is also a well-planned picture, charmingly 
painted. The fan in the background is a pretty 
conceit, and when it opens, the prismatic foun- 
tains and surroundings are equally as hand- 

Praulein Qualitz performed as expected j preclpitoua 
flights on her toes, the giddy top-spin of the thickly-tiered 
ballet flounces, the incredible speed and nimbleness of her 
long legs in v-fhite tights, Azilla, billed as the flying danc- 
er, was the surprise of the show. 

* Bulletin, September 25, 1890, 



or. •^• 

ii;;iiu- Yr i-nonBinioq a miol oi eiiv; aXqoeq 

:.:: 80=^0011 o?Vi> 

tol le-vuemaiti b: 

■ Xc IsJGy^O t. 

exi.-t ^c 

,OCGi ru 

. Bi'iOi:iO/59T: 1' 

•■'briBci 5j? Y 

w--' <.- 

,0Q8i ^o2 i3cffr!C->ctq©S tff x:tni ' 

Burlesque 240 

"Azilla is truly a wonder, it being a query 
as how she is lifted diagonally across the stage, 
or rather up in the air, and again guided in an 
opposite direction from that in which she 

Vvith his next production in San Francisco, Slnbad 

at the Baldwin Theatre in September 1891, Henderson was 

careful of the essential thing for a producer of extravaganza; 

he topped his previous production in splendid effect, 

"For a spectacle complete in every part, Sin " 
bad is the most gorgeous yet presented to thea- 
tre-goers in this city, "•''-•■"- 

Ida Mulle and Eddie Foy were still very much and 

successfully to the fore, Martha Irmler,new to San Francisco, 

contested with Clara Qualitz for leadership in the ballet. 

Henry Norman was the brightest newcomer among the men, 

"Henry Norman, one of our favorites, is a most 

comical pirate chief. His make-up is ludicrous 

in the extreme and his acting and singing every 

way capital. His great song in the third act, 
'The Bogie Man,' was charmingly rendered, .. .When 

the management engaged Norman they found one of 

the best all around burlesquers on the 
stage, "■>'-"- 

The critic of the Argonaut recorded in detail the 

stage setting for this song by Norman, v/hich ''caught on" as 

one of the hit tunes of the nineties i 

"., .presto I, the supers roll back the walls, the 
background rushes wildly up into the air, the 
frightened coryphees flee in beautiful bewil- 
derment to the right and left; and the scenic 
artist presents for your approbation a tropical 
isle, shimmering in a pale-green haze.,., In this 
pallid and somewhat ghostly lights Mr, Norman's 

* Bulletin , September 23, 1890. 
-"■^:-tbid, September 29, 1891, 

^ ■' . ■ ' " ' ' 

'J^odniS lOoaxcn/iT'^ oeS nt nolioi. -xon • elri ri;tJl:V7 

' .ctoe'llo bibnelqB ni nol^ioubotq ctroiveiq Rid boqqoi on 
". -ri; -ni- n: ■ 

bn-B clotsm y^©v IIxctE eievr -^o*? " eifcM Jbne eXIiiM jsIjI 
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.vt&lificf «riJ ni- qiric^o£iv3eX ^ol sJilfljuP iJoeXO dil\f beicein 


arict Xis^ 

soict'oni :I ©ri. 

Biirlesque 241 

song of 'The Bogie Man,* comes in so neatly that 
for the moment it achieves the feat of effacing 
all memory of the scenic artist. ,. ,Not a word of 
the song was lost: 

'You've got no show- 
You'd best lie low- 
Here comes the Bogie Man I ' 

sings lllr, Norman, tripping stealthily in the 
eerie light, in which all the cannibals, in 
their glory of beads and leopard skins, cower 
with fear and utter a sound between a groan and 
the grinding; of a buzz-saw. ""5^ 

This same critic was much less impressed with the 
spoken word than with the singing and scenic effects of Sin - 
bad ; 

"The dialogue of Sinbad is nothing to boast 
about. It is composed mainly of Chicago jokes 
and slang. These, to the uninitiated, are at 
times a little fatiguing. They made merry about 
baccarat and the Prince of V'^ales, repeating, 
with good effect, the joke about 'carrying his 
own chips, ' which was in Life over a month 



Ali Baba , the Henderson extravaganza for 1892, ar- 
rived in San Francisco in November. There was plenty of both 
old and new. Hlddie Poy, Ida Mulle and Henry Norman headed 
the acting company. Martha Irmler had edged Clara Qualitz 
completely out of the picture and she was now referred to as 
"the premiere danseuse assoluta of the organization."'"""' 
Heaviest of the new assets v/as the new electrical equipment 
at the Grand Opera House. 

^"' Argonaut , Ootobor 5, 1891. 
'"""•Bulletin, NovembGr 28, 1892. 



erf- fix YJf-trf^-ffis^e gnlqqi-x.* »nBmo'f .n?' r---'-. 
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Burlesque 242 

"An entire new electric light plant has been 
put in the theatre; the stage is one mass of 
electric v/ires, and over 1,500 incandescent 
lights besides numerous arc and other illumina- 
tors, will lighten up the stage."""- 

Henderson's reach for the ever grander effect in 
his annual production was approximating the fantastic. One 
Of the special features of All Baba was the "Danse Diabolique," 
It occurred as the climax of the third act. The scene depicted 
"a lonesome spot in the mountains, v/ith moss-covered rocks 
and spectral trees in the foreground and a fall of real v/ater, 
tumbling and sparkling in the moonlight."-"""- Into this rock- 
bound arena slov/l3r appeared the enormous shape of a mechan- 
ical dragon. Laboriously, it reached center stage, emitting 
blasts of smoke and ferocious snorts from its cable-swung 
head, blinking its mechanical lids dov/n over its balefully 
red eyes. Then from moor-beast it quickly changed to a mere 
surprise package. A large part of its side was seen to be a 
trap door from which stepped brightly-spangled coryphe'es. 
The contradiction of such a beautiful birth consecutive upon 
such a monstrous operation did not seem to confuse either 
Henderson or the audience. This particular act was one of 
the hits of the sho\?. 

To Frederick Daingerfield of Chicago went a great 
deal of credit for Henderson's success. He designed not only 
all of the scenery, but the costumes as well. The actual 

-»- Bulletin . December 3, 1892. 
-"--"-Ibid, November 28, 1892, 


.©aiSCfe ISvi -av;.'. iflOX 

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lau:iOB. ©flT 


Burlesque 243 

construction of the costvmies had been entrusted to Madame 
Ellse Preisinger and Charles Alias, famous costumiers of 

Eddie Poy was still carrying most of the weight of 
the entertainment; 

"Without a doubt the burden of Ali Baba , in 
an acting v/ay, lies with Eddie Foy, who, if any- 
thing, is more comical than ever. Prom the time 
that he first makes his appearance to the finale 
he is a solid body of wit and humor, v/hile gro- 
tesque in his actions yet with a meaning full 
of hearty fun, original, and new.. . Jlis make-up 
and imitation of Lottie Collins, the original 
•ta-ra-ra-Boom-dey-a' is perfect, and one of 
the fionniest specialty acts that Foy has ever 

This cast for 1892 remained essentially intact for 
the revival of Sinbad in 1893. Louise Royce, as Sinbad, as- 
sumed the feminine acting lead. Eddie Foy and Henry Norman 
were entrusted with most of the comedy. Martha Irmler was 
again premiere danseuse. Daingerfield was still manager of 
the staging. 

As to the exact nature of the piece itself, the press 
was chary of details. If nothing else, a notice in the Bulle- 
tin for November 25, 1893 implied a spectacular internation- 

"In Sinbad there will be 300 people on the 
stage, representatives of Italy, Spain, China, 
France, Germany, Russia, Egypt, India, Ireland, 
Scotland, England, and America." 

This no doubt had reference to the grand transfor- 
mation scene which was advertised as "A Tribute to America" in 

* Bulletin . December 5, 1892. 



13V vO 

cirnitoVi '^xiaxiit iviij-j Yo'l oiJbfiSI -.i^wc-i ^nJtctc.;. 

Id '103Eftfim Ilxw« c&r M oxl'xosxiiBCI .oaw;- oixtieiq 

eeftq ©ri^.lloaii; eoelq 9x1* "to sisjiBi 

00' I 

ri ■;ta'j;;oJ- - 

.2G3I ,a '.. 


Burlesque 244 

''seven changes," the changes being seven arbitrary divisions 
of American history depicting the various influxes of Europe- 
an and Oriental ir.unigrants. 

The costumes were this time after designs by Russell 
of London, "leader of his craft,"* Much publicity was given 
the fact that the complete cast of three hundred v^ent through 
three cost\ime changes during the extravaganza. And nothing 
had been skimped in the materials; 

"Notably a suit of black and gold for Sinbad, 
and a robe of white and silver for Ninetta are 
exquisite illustrations of the cos turner's art. 
Mr» Henderson does not believe in cheap materi- 

Nor did he believe in sparing expense when it came 

to the stage machinery devised by Daingerf ieldt 

"In the new version of this extravaganza, the 
action of which opens in the port of Balsora at 
daybreak, a full-rigged private ship, the Roc, 
sails into the harbor and carries away all the 
leading personages, 

"The next act shovirs the deck of the ship at sea 
and introduces a spectacular novelty in the 
shape of an immense panorama illustrating life 
on the ocean from the earliest times to the 
present day..., 

"The 'Frozen Valley of Diamonds' is Daingerf ield's 
piece de resistance — a brilliant picture repre- 
senting a frozen valley of precious stones in 
the fastness of the mountains,"* 

During December 1894, the Hendersonian extravaganza 
at the Baldwin Theatre was the old but never familiar Aladdin 
and the Wonderful Lamp; never familiar because the extrava- 
ganza idea was the use of the merest framevrork of the old 

^c Bulletin, November 25, 1893. 


bib 'loVI 

eiii no 

-rt^.' . ;, ;.. .; ^ , .„ , .; \. :..:. ... . nivvMsS ex 

.5G8f iCS -isfeevoW i.t.tl6lXija 

Burlesque 245 

burlesques. The rest was extravagant trappings, 

"Perhaps some day, in that distant millenium 
when the lion and the lamb are to be reconciled, 
a Chicago extravaganza may come to us where the 
dialogue is entertaining and the jokos do not 
come from numbers of Life and Pomch that go back 
farther than the memory of the oldest inhab- 

"In the matter of costiunos, Aladdin.. Jr « dis- 
tances all in its sump tuousno s s , " * 

A dozen or so sturdy progenitors thus loomed right 
down through the development of extravaganza and into tho 
rise of musical comedy in the 1900s: there are not only an 
Aladdin, Jr ; there was a Robinson Crusoe, Jr ; an Ali Baba ITp - 
To-Date ; a Black Crook, Up-To-Date etc. 

There may have been more costume in Henderson's 
1894 show, but there was less company, Eddie Foy had branched 
off on his own, Ida Mulle v;as contracted elsev/here. It was 
Henry Norman's show, with the excellent assistance, hov/ever, 
of Anna Boyd, tho now loading lady, 

"Henry Norman in his line of characters in 
burlesque has hardly an equal, Anna Boyd, the 
new leading woman, is dashing and full of life. 
Her two songs, »I Didn't Think He'd Do It, but 
He Did' and 'The Girl With the Ringlets, ' were 
cleverly sung,"-"-"- 

it Argonaut , December 24, 1894. 
-::-:^ Bulletin , December 18, 1894. 

••^"^ cuiiae.i'issQ 

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Burlesque 24-6 

The art of the costuj'iiier was chiefly squandered on 
the Spirit of the Lamp, the Spirit of the Ring, and the Amber 
Ballet--the Spirit of the Lamp "in blues that shaded from the 
dullest and softost of tints to deep, velvety Prussian blue, 
with a pair of variegated ^.win'^s trembling on her shoulders''; 
the Spirit of the Lamp v/ith "long, web-like green wings in 
which he can ^-/rap himself, or else, vdth extended arms, let 
hang its loose, silken mesh to thfi ground" j tho Amber Ballet 
as ''quite a symphony in yellovrs or in those \";arm golden choc- 
olates, that pale into the faintest and most davmi-llke tints 
of primrose,"'"" In Henderson's hands., American extravaganza 
was becoming a mere confection of dazzling color, held to- 
gether by the comedian's firecracker gags, which the producer 
hoped would go off with a bang. 

But the necessity for the annual increase in expend- 
iture for costumes and stage settings, v/as inevitably piling 
up to Henderson's downfall. The last two of his productions 
which essayed as far from their Chicago base as San Francisco ^ 
both built around the situations of the early Sinbad , were 
comparative failures. The expansion of the Chicago extrava- 
ganza had reached a bursting point. 

The production of Sinbad in 1896 was enough of a 
trial for Henderson. Oscar Girard, as the comedian, made no 
great splash in the water. And it seemed sufficient to the 

■«• Argonaut , December 24, 1394. 

w'^r rf.i- 

Burlesque 247 

press to mention that Louise Sissing was playing Sintaad. 
Three years of eclipse followed. In 1899, Henderson again 
reached San Francisco, and age in vidth a production of 3 in b ad . 
The Christmas matinee at the Grand Opera House received the 
only press notice of the engagement. Edith Mason played Sin- 
bad. The comedian of the cop.pany failed to receive even a 
passing notice* Frank King had replaced Frederick Dainger- 
field and v^ras credited with the intricacies of a transforma- 
tion scene entitled, ''The Evolution of Nature, in eight 
changes. " 

Henderson had taken the Chicago extravaganza through 
as many progressive changes from splendid to more splendid. 
He had completed the development of that part of the American 
theatre which had commenced with The Black Crook in the late 
sixties. The exterior dazzle of burlesque had increased in 
galloping proportion to the satirical dialogue in the heart of 
the matter, and the audiences were becoming surfeited. Tv;o 
young men from New York's east side were to discover this 
quite accidentally. In 1900 Joe Weber and Low Fields, at 
their Music Hall in Nev/ York City, were pruning away all the 
dead weight of extravaganza and revealing the true function 
of burlesque as it had been known in the early San Francisco 
theatre. But the results of their genius was not to be felt 
in San Francisco until 1902. 

The career of local extravaganza at the Tivoli 
Opera House paralleled the career of Henderson's Chicago 

ao.tioiT er. 
boin 3 0V7 J: 

-■' ■•'■■ ■ ■ • ■"'- ■ ■' :) hQiQl- -■' 

-.iflcxoftx '■- ■" "■ up .^oX^JJCf lo ; ■ •.- '^ " . 


I'V da-{? TA . '.^^ -^ Vu 

Burlesque 248 

extravaganza ond. extended beyond it ^l^^ht up to the moment of 
the epoch-making fire of 1906. During the nineties there v/ere 
three or four spectacular productions each season* The turn 
of the century, 1399 to 1902 — a had time for the theatre — 
saw burlesque extravaganza at the Tivoli reduced to the one 
sure drawing card, the annual M other Goos e spectacle at 
Christmas time. 

There were few repeats in this long span of produc- 
tion. The title meant little an^nvay, considering that no bur- 
lesque v/as over played ''"straight, ''but was always refurbished, 
redecorated. All the familiar names were played upon' Deauty 
and the Beast ^ Ali ^ Baba, Don Juan Ad. Lib » , Lalla Ro okh, Little 
Robinson Crusoe , Ix ion , Bluebeard , A Trip to the Moon , The 
Babes in the V/ood , Jac k and th e Beanstalk , Aladdin, or the 
V/onderful Lamp , The Strange Adventures of Jack and Jill , The 
Yellow Dwarf , Goldil ocks , Little 3o-Peep , Cinderella , Little 
Red Riding Hood , King Dodo , Orpheus in s . 

The Tivoli company, essentially local and permanent, 
had to be good. Prom 1890 to 1906, the ability of these San 
Francisco burlesquers was to be challenged by such distln- 
quished visitors as the Henderson Company, the Edv/ard ''Everlast- 
ing" Rice Company, the Matthews and Bulger company. Later there 
was to be the competition of vaudeville at the California 
Theatre under the management of Charles P. Hall and the vogue 
of the Weber and Fields type of burlesque as presented to San 
Francisco by the comedians Kolb and Dill. 

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Btirlesque 2-1-9 

The Tivoli company weatliorocT all of bh.eGe vicis- 
situdes. The Chrxstmas pantomime at the Tivoli Opera Jiouce 
becaiiie one of San Francisco's Institutions. Tillle Salinger, 
Gracie Plaisted, Phil uvp.naon, Ferris riartman." these actors 
laid the foundation for the permanent company. Later v/ould 
come Joh_n P. V/ilson, V-/, 11, v/est, Louise Hoyce, John J. 
Raffaol, Edwin Stevens, Edith Hall, Anna Lichter, Annie Ilyers. 
Oscar L. Fest was to acquire a stardom of his ovm as scenic 
d.e signer. 3ut the long experience of the Tivoli with bur- 
lesque extravaganza and spectacular pantomime was to ho dom- 
inated by Ferris Hartman. he had begun his career as a singer 
in ligjit opera; had discovered his ability as a comedian in 
The Isl and of Zeno bar, holiday spectacle at the Tivoli in 
1891; had been assumed not only most of the chief comed.y 
roles in the Tivoli burlesques but also the capacity of directcr. 

The thirty-oddi burlesque extro.vaganzas produced at 
the Tivoli between 1890 and 1906 contributed nothing to the 
development of burlesque itself. As productions they were 
efficient reproductions of tried forms and formulas. There 
was not only the splendor of the Chicago extravaganza; there 
was also the fantasy of the English, fairy tale pantomimes, 
A well trained ballot carried on the leg-show tradition of 
The Black Crook . And there were transformation scenes, each 
one a more devastating bit of gorgeous illusion than the last, 
A deepening vista revealed "The Age of Pro:ress,'' or the 
''dainty changes,'''"" described ''Our Childliood's Fancies,'' or, 

* Bulletin . December 18, 1897. 

'i-u/n;.r ■.■■I ol noi;:/r^r; 

< '.'J-nB'^ : - 

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nr-- !"*■:' in-. ■ 

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Burlesque 250 

again, luscious involutions exposed ''The Birth of the Rose.'' 

The Bulletin for December 27 ^ 1894, names all the elements of 

one of the transformation scenes at the Tivoli, but falls to 

record the title. An all-inclusive title for these disparate 

elements was no doubt unthinkable: 

"The transformation scene that developed from 
an alcove in the Peris' gardens through the birth 
of the flowers, the splendid spider-v/eb, the 
true-to-life pictures of a New England Nev; Year's 
day to the finale where Feramorz and 'Lalla 
Rookh, ' in front of the revolving whsel, faced 
the audience with the pretty children suspended 
in mid-air in front of them, was the most ar- 
tistic v/ork ever seen in San Francisco.'' 

Aside from the popular songs of the time, Offenbach 
continued to furnish most of the musical score. Max Hirschfeld, 
musical director of the Tivoli for several seasons, provided 
a good many original compositions; but the advertisement 
usually read "music composed and selected by Max Hirschfeld," 
In the Argonaut for June 20, 1898, the eclecticism of most 
burlesque music was very openly confessed-. ''the music is by 
Lecocq with additions by Max Hirschfeld, John Philip Sousa, 
Victor Herbert, Reginald de Koven and others," This advertise- 
ment had to do v/ith a mids-ummer production of Ali Baba; or 
Cassim and the Forty Thieves . 

The slow death of many traditions was to be accel- 
erated by the great fire of 1906, After the event, dviring 
the period of reconstruction, things alive were to be more 
obviously alive; things dead more obviously dead. The fire 
was to prove a real, uncompromising transformation scene. If 

jJ'. -Jf r.Sl'- 

le srlcf L'li: 

rf-iiiCfro'i'i'.- . ; .- ■ '-1 ujjas-'-. 

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'IS ©ri* V 


-.■■ib-o a vc ■ 

Burlesque ^^■'■ 

one looked closely, hov/over, the anlage of theatrical change 
was visible long before the fire. Already in the eighteen- 
nineties, v/hile Oscar Pest's frilled scenery at the Tivoli 
was penetrating, by means of seven changes, to the heart of 
some such enormous subject as The Development of Nations , 
rumors of a nevr kind of burlesque at '^eber and Field's Music 
Hall in New York City v;ere reaching the ^Vest. 

Late in October 1899, the Columbia Theatre was 
packed for a return engagement of the Matthews and Bulger 
company in a revival of their ^'nonsensical hodgepodge," By 
the Sad Sea y'/aves .'"'" Twice in 1898, the company had played in 
San Francisco on a coast to coast tour and Matthews and Bul- 
ger had gained very profitable reputations locally as Iciock- 
about comedians. There was nothing extraordinary about most 
of their performance. At Gay Coney Isl and and B 7 the Sa d Sea 
Waves , the two pieces presented in 1898, were little more 
than vaudeville programs loosely held together by plots flexi- 
ble enough to be adapted to whatever gag might draw a laugh. 
The thing of interest is a phrase in the advance publicity 
for By the Sad Sea Waves which was announced as " a ragtime 
opera," In the review published in the Argonaut for October 
24, 1898, there is the further reference to Ned ^''ayburn, a 
member of the company, whose ''ragtime playing is a hit." 

* Argonaut; October 50, 1899. 

'VT^" " ' . ". ''^ Tx"^ " r/"" tinir!' 

■.n^^fc: er^:lc''4:3T:'^-- 


Burlesque 252 

This Is surely on the trail of musical history A year later, 

in a review of the return engagement of the company In By the 

Sad Sea Waves , the Argonaut states; 

''In addition to their (Matthews' and Bulger's) 
new business and up-to-date jokes, a number of 
clever specialties have been introduced, nota- 
bly the plastic poses of Mile, de Seye. Aside 
from the stars, Bessie Challenger as Sis 
Hopkins, Tony Hart as a droll German and Ned 
Wayburn, the man who invented ragtime, are 
especially v/orthy of mention. Three songs 
which are encored nightly and are sure to be 
whistled on the streets are 'You ToldMeYou 
Had Money in the Bank,' 'Japanese Baby,' and 
'Ise Pound yo Honey,'"""' 

Ragtime was to become one of the first important 

contributions of America to the development of contemporary 

music,*""''" American btirlesque had doubtless felt and executed 

the particular rhythm of ragtime long before the appearance 

of Ned Wayburn v\^o is credited with its "invention," In an 

interviev/ v/ith the San Francisco Chronicle , October 29, 1899, 

Wayburn clarified the origin of ragtime to a certain extent, 

but also persisted in an illusion of parthenogenesis: 

"This is the picture of Mrs, Wayburn, ¥;ho v/ith 
her husband's assistance, invented "ragtime." 
Both are members of the Matthews & Bulger's By 
the Sad Sea Waves Company, which opens at the 
Columbia Theatre to-night, and this is how Mr, 
Wayburn describes the discovery that he has 
since executed on the piano until he is f amous s 

"'We were traveling through the South some years 
ago* he continued, 'and we both noticed a pecu- 
liar something about the impromptu ditties of 
the younger element of the Negroes on the plan- 
tation. Their modern songs seemed somewhat dif- 
ferent from the old-time melodies that used to 

ii Argonaut , November 6, 1899. 

---*e,g, Igor Stravinslcy's Ragtime for Eleven Instrximents, 

t..c£ 8'' 

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.. sij^rio etui 01; .II' 

Burlesque 253 

charm our boyhood v/ith visions of Little Eva 
and Uncle Tom, ^"/hat that something was we could 
not exactly tell, still it v/as different. We 
caught ourselves unconsciously humming these 
peculiar strains and trying to reduce them or 
conform them to some musical law. 

"'One morning my wife woke up and astonished me 
with a genuine burst of v;hat is now called rag- 
time. "I have it," she said, ''it came to me in 
a droam," The peculiar something is simple syn- 
copate, a contraction of the measure by taking 
(sic) from the middle and abruptly ending each 
Y»rord with a sound of ah, I set to work to re- 
duce her dream theory to practice, and the re- 
sult astonished me, I soon found that I could 
turn every song and musical number into genuine 
rag-time, '" 

Interesting details ivere added in an article in the 

San Francisco Examiner for October 30, 1899, entitled "Pale- 

'■Jhite Tights and Pumpkin-Colored Rag Time": 

",,,as before, the real sensation is Ned ^'fayburn, 
the rag-time virtuoso. There are many ragtimers^ 
but there is but one ^■'''ayburn, and he composed 
Syncopated Sandy, the most dare-devil, razor- 
edged, pumpkin-colored stunt in the whole lit- 
erature of fancy 'nigger' syncopation. The one 
original, national note that has been struck in 
American music is rag-time j it is the ancestor 
of our futiore folk songs; and ^"ayburn is its 
prophet. Ho is the May Irwin of the pianoforte. 
The other man doesn't live who can coax the 
same essence from the rigid ivories of a second- 
rate backparlor upright, }llr, ^■'ayburn is not a 
reverent ragstor. All composers prance alike 
under his fingers. Even the nuptial harmonies 
of Mendelssohn's March were given out in weird 
syncopation at the Columbia last night, and to 
Mr, de Koven's 'Promise Mo' was annexed a spor- 
tive tilt that brought awful visions of Jessie 
Bartlett Davis in the pleasures of the cake 
walk. Then came a wild medley of real rags, 
winding up with the incomparable 'Sandy,'" 

David Henderson, Ferris Hartman and the Tivoli Com- 
pany, Matthews and Bulger with Ned Waybvirn; these furnish the 

JbliTOC- :■ 

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Burlesque 254 

brightest configurations in the 1890-1900 decade of burlesque 
in San Francisco. There were other successes, other bright, 
and even brighter, lights; but none so persistent throughout 
the ten gay years. 

Appropriately enough the last decade of burlesque 
in the nineteenth century was bracketed by the character of 
the Lone PishGrman; one of the few contributions of American 
burlesque to the old characters of pantomime. In April 
1890, the Lone Fisherman was played by James M.P/Ioffett, in a 
revival of Evangeline by a local company at the California 
Theatre, The century went out with another revival of Svan- 
geline , this time at the Grand Opera House, with Fred Cooper, 
a famous comedian, playing the taciturn, misanthropic pes- 
cador. There was a glance bacl-ovard in the reviews, for Joe 
Weston and Joe Clarke, a nev/ dancing team vdth the first 
brush of fame, were cast as the front and hind legs of the 
talking heifer in Evangeline , roles v;hich had started Nat 
Goodwin and Harry Dixey off to stardom years before, 

Harry Dixey had appeared last in San Francisco in 
September 1890, The piece v/as called The Seven Ages and 
started off with a rhetorical dialogue between an actor got 
up to resemble the Bard of Avon, and another in the long, 
flowing robes of a female character with the vaguely meaning- 
ful name of Avonia, Once the span of hviman life had been 
neatly partitioned into seven compartments, the play began. 
It was an historical pastiche, with the British taking New 

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(1862 - 1931) 

In the role of the Toymaker with his two 
children, Paul and Josephine Hartman. 


Burlesque 255 

York with the aid of some light-colored Indians -- why 
light-colored never being intimated in the reviews. The piece 
ended with a tableau, supposedly overwhelming, depicting the 
interior of a tavern. But the gleaming copper pots, the long 
clay pipes, and the deep lace cuffs of the convivial scene 
failed of a response, and the press picked out, as high spot 
of the occasion, the scene in which Dixey, wrapped in a cloak, 
swung himself upon a tight-reined horse, stretched out his 
right hand, and looked, for all the audience could tell, the 
exact replica of the George '"'ashington statue in New York 
City's Union Square, Harry Dixey had followed the indicated 
course from his famous impersonation of Henry Irving -- he 
was no longer engaged in the lively obliqueness of burlesque, 
but in the dead straightness of imitation. 

Dixey settled back into the obscure warp and woof 
of the times, and Pay Templeton emerged. She had been in re- 
tirement and her return to the stage was especially v;ell 
advertised- by a fortunate coincidence. The Templeton dia- 
monds, en route to America- were snagged by the limed twigs 
of the United States customs officials, Templeton whimpered 
to the press that no lav/s had been broken; that she had 
pawned the jewels three years before in Paris; that they were 
rightfully hers and no one could prevent their redemption. 
The v^ole country listened to every word, Hov/ell Osborn, her 
long-established amour in the public eye, had been having a 
turn of luck at baccarat, and his horses at the Paris races 

Vr'v -- cn.u;j.;vl bsio too*-:} ti^di .:■ ...... i^.--, i.- - .: ■-■ 

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/:. Titilviiii HQC . oiXOtrq '■wom.i:- ftaxfexXcfficfEe-j.A'" 

Burlesque 256 

were nosing in. lIHiy should he not redeem her jewels if he 
chose to do so? Itemized lists of the diamonds followed. 
The more spectacular pieces were a gold chatelaine v/ith five 
toilet attachments; one watch "no bigger than a nickel''; one 
gold necklace with disimond end ruby charms. 

Shortly after the restitution of her diamonds ^ Pay 
Templeton appeared in San Francisco at the California Theatre 
in a burlesque called Miss McGinty /""The burlesque itself was 
passed over as inconsequential, but ''the Pay,'' after years 
of absence, still justified herself with local theatre-goers 
as the star of the show. Harping critics disparagingly made 
mention of a slight corpulence, and signs of wear in her 
voice. But Templeton was to give them all the lie with 
another decade of successful stardom at the '^'eber and Fields 
Music Hall in New York. In fact, she continued to worry the 
press of the nineties with numerous and youngish escapades. 
In October 1896 there v/as the news that she had eloped. The 
remarks of a New York manager, unnamed, immediately appeared 
in all the papers. Pay's out of the frying pan and into the 
fire technique in her love affairs was beneficial to her ca- 
reer as a burlesque queen, the New York manager was quoted as 
saying. And further, ''if she was legitimate,'' he declared 
"a scandal would hurt her in a business way. An actress of 
serious roles is worth more to the play and the manager if 

* January 20, 1891. 

laajL XM^i 

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edit .o;Jni bro^ nsq ;^.'i^ 

Burlesque 257 

she IS knowm to tie a vronan of unblemished character. The in- 
tended drai-natic effect is defeated if the audience knows that 
the mimic porsonator of the heroine is herself the opposite 
of the character portra^'-ed,"*"*' 

The following summer, the ivell-known face and figiire 
of ''the Pay*' again illustrated the press. Hov/ell Osborn was 
dead, and his relationship with Pay was rehashed in consecu- 
tive chapters in every paper of the country. The springboard 
of the difficulties was his mother's will which had stated 
that, if Howell should marry an actress, he was to be cut off 
as beneficiary of her legacy. With his own death, the Osborn 
clan descended upon the remains of the fortune, dug up the 
old clause in the mother's will, and attempted to direct it 
at Pay who had been mentioned in Howell's will as recipient 
of •)100,000. The marriage of Pay Templeton to Howell Osborn 
had however never been established, and the executor of 
Osborn 's will easily won all of his points when the matter 
was brought to trial. The San Francisco Argonaut for June 
21, 1897, concluded that "...the sloe-eyed soubrette will 
probably come into her money and retire from the stage." 

Or again it was the face and figure of Corinne, 
star of the Jennie C, Kimball Opera Comique and Burlesque 
Company. Mrs. Kimball was noted as one of the shrewdest man- 
agers in the business, and had lifted Corinne to widespread 

-> Argonaut October 5, 1896, 

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Burlesque ^^® 

fame. Corinne first appeared in San Francisco in February 
1891 at the Bush Street Theatre, Of the two burlesques given, 
Monte Cristo, Jr . and a burlesque Carmen , little was said by 
the critics except that Corinne 's "imitation" of Carmencita, 
the Spanish dancer, won "rounds of applause. "^^ But the five 
years between 1891 and Corinne 's second San Francisco appear- 
ance in 1896, had acciimulated such fame about her name that 
all the reviews were very detailed and personalized. 

"A story follows Corinne to this city that a 
mining company has been organized at Low Moun- 
tain, Cripple Creek, with her name, and that 
she and Mrs, Kimball have been presented with 
25,000 shares of stock, ...In her latest London 
hit, 'Louisiana Lou' — which like all London 
musical hall songs, has but little meaning — 
the young lady wore a black satin evening dress 
suit, so bedecked with gems that she looked 
like a station at the Kimberly diamond fields 
after a wash-up. We presume the stones are real, 
as Mrs. Kimball gave Corinne last Christmas a 
diamond-oncrusted watch worth |5,000, Under 
such circumstances paste would be scorned. The 
final act of the extravaganza ( Hendrick Hudson 
Jr.) is a whirl of specialties'^ the best one 
being the burlesque of that part of Paul. 
Potter's, Trilby in the foyer and concert, 
where Corinne sings 'Ben Bolt' and Svengali 

A few months before Corinne 's final appearance in 
San Francisco the succeeding autumn, Mrs, Kimball died, leav- 
ing her fortune "expressed in six figures" to Corinne, The 
company immediately assumed the name of The Corinne Extravag- 
anza Company, none of the dates were cancelled, and the 

-X- Bulletin , February 17, 1891. 
-:HJ-tb'ld. J^ebruary 1, 1896, 




Burlesque 259 

theatrical world occupied itself v/lth the temerity of the bur- 
lesque queen's venture^ now that the ''business head" of the 
company was no more. The odds were against success, especial- 
ly since Corinne had the admitted failing of most burlesque 
actresses of coveting a ''legitimate" career. There is no record 
of her efforts in this direction, and a curious note in the 
Argonaut for December 7, 1896, signs Corinne 's epitaph on the 
theatrical scene; 

'* Corinne made her will while in this city, and 
bequeathed her entire estate, which v/ill be not 
less than three-quarters of a million to the 
founding of a 'home for aged and unemployed 
actresses, ' " 

Her last appearance had been splendid. ^'In the last act of 
Hendrick Huds on, Jr,, Corinne will wear all her diamonds, 
among vi^hich is a single stone, weighing forty-two and one- 
third carats, valued at ')15,000.'^ 

In and out of all the big cities, throughout the 
nineties, making money wherever it stopped, M, B, Leavitt's 
colossal production of The Spider and The Fly put up its sign. 
It was the Hendersonlan type of extravaganza and contributed 
nothing to the history of b\irlesque except quantity — some- 
thing was bigger, or there was more of it, or it cost more. The 
first San Francisco engagement, March 1892, v/as prefaced with 
the loudest sort of publicity. The costumes were not by any- 
one 30 provincial as an American, but by Charles Alias of 
London; and Europe had been combed for its most celebrated 

Argonaut , November 9, 1896, 

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Burlesque 260 

vaudeville specialties; and, to top it all, it was declared 
that The Spider and The Fly v/as no mere extravaganza, but also 
contained elements of opera bouffe, spectacle, pantomime, and 
comedy. The publicity closed v;ith the hardheaded bit of in- 
formation that "the shov/ requires two 60-foot baggage cars to 
transport the scener^T-, costumes, electric effects, and para- 
phernalia of the piece. '''"'^ This en massed splendor of the pro- 
duction almost concealed the single fact of interest: Charles 
Ravel, last survivor of the great Ravel family of pantomimists, 
was a member of the company. His act is nov;here described. 
He was not starred. The satirical pantomime of the Commedia 
dell' Arte--at the beginning of the nineteenth century still 
alive in the hsmds of Grimaldi, preserved somewhat in the ac- 
robatic pantomimes of first the Ravels and then the Martinet- 
tis — was here finally in the last, lonely Ravel ignominiously 
snared in the glitter and noise of The Spider and the Fly . 

And the glitter would be folded av/ay, and the noise 
would be stilled, and the two 60-foot baggage cars v/ould haul 
the big show to its next engagement; up and down, and across 
the continent, the iron wheels of the new trunk lines, trans- 
porting the tinselled deadjiess of the American extravaganza, 

Edward ''iCver las ting" Rice was on the road too. 
Twice during the nineties, December 1895 and March 1898, an 
Edward Rice Company presented to San Franciscans the extrava- 
ganza 14 9 2 . In May 1897, Rice brought his company V/est in 

^- Bulletin, January 7, 1893, 

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Burlesque 261 

the sure-fire oldness of Excelsior, Jr . 'Tith, a production of 
the apparently eternal Evangeline at the Grand Opera House in 
December 1899. Rico helped San Franciscans close the century. 

The burlesque 1 4 9 2 was Rico's attempt to out- 
shine Hendorson. The critics, a little blinded by the glare, 
could not be sure; but the llov; York audience had kept tho 
show running for months, and tho San Francisco ongagement 
followed an almost year-long road tour. Chief attraction was 
Bessie Bonehill, London music hall singer, "the first of this 
class of performers who is neither loud nor coarse. She has 
much charm, a fresh and childlike voice, and extremely good 

The featured specialty, Horr Kilyani's Living Pip - 
tures, was not acccptod so graciously in San Francisco, The 
Rhine Daughters , piece do resistance of I'.ilyani's nine tab- 
leaux, was sat down as follows in the local press- ''In the 
picture of T he Rhine Daughters , one of the nymphs, attired 
in a flesh-colored silk union suit, lies prone upon her back 
on a rock, with her legs and arms curled up as though siiffer- 
ing from strychnine poisoning,"* But there were other things; 
among them, a blood-brother of the cold-blooded Izaak '"'alton 
of Evangeline; "The lone fisherman of Evangeline almost 
finds his counterpart in the Celt who wanders through the 
second act with a bull's-eye lantern as big as a milk can, 

* Argonaut , December 16, 1895. 

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.398X ,.ax Tocfmsoea <d;u£ no;^ aA. * 

Burlesque 262 

and when asked \'/hether he was a German siraply replies, 'No, 
I'm a policeman.'"'"" 

And v/hen King Charles knocks at the door, Queen 
Isabella says to Ferdinand, "If the worst comes to the worst, 
sing him one of your songs*" Ferdinand greets Charles, leads 
him to a chair, and says, "Sit down, King, and we'll open 
something, Kitty, open the windov;/' 

That was the sort of dialogue Rice purveyed to San 
Franciscans in 1895« The actual v/riting of burlesque had ad- 
vanced little or not at all since the days of Burnand. The 
air was still congested with the drear?/ fxm of such puns asi 
"I hear that Columbus is going to live in Missouri — I heard 
Pike's Peak about it," 

The gags had perhaps been refreshed a little by the 
growing effervescence of American vaudeville, ''No/' says the 
tramp, "I can't 'et a recommendation — the last man I worked 
for has been dead twenty years," and "I don»t wear patent leath- 
er shoes, for the patent on them has expired." "Yes, a long 
time ago I saved the girl's life — shot at her twice and 
missed her," But the biggest laugh of the show was drawn out 
by "Hello, Columbus, how did you get out of Ohio?" 

The curtain of the last act came up on Richard 
Harlow, female impersonator, as Qtieen Isabella, standing be- 
fore a v/ashtub, methodically washing Ferdinand's socks, and 

* Argonaut , December 10, 1895. 

LiD-& '''. r. 

:UT 1'J X 

Burlesque 263 

voicing a tearful hope for the quick return of Columbus, His 
return was iimuediate, the queen's mood changedj and she broke 
gaily into the song "I'm up-to-date, I dominate, for I ride a 
wheel, " v/hich the Bulletin for December 10, 1095 prophesied 
would "be whistled all over tovm in a day.'' 

Not so vdth the tunes of Excelsior, Jr. in 1897, 
The critics were unanimous in decrying the use of such outworn 
material in such a dull way. For one thing, the ballet cho- 
rines were not only inexpert, but old — and "the older they 
were, the shorter grew their dresses, the more golden their 
hair, the more artless their manner,"* Except for Sadie 
Martinet, there was nothing v/orth seeing -- or hearing -* for 
Sadie not only put on long white gloves and waved her arms 
about in a recognizable burlesque of Yvette Gilbert, she also 
did the best of the many singing imitations of the famous Cafe 
Chantant Parisien, Sadie Martinet vi^as accepted by San Fran- 
cisco almost without question, one critic holding out for the 
fact that Yvette had not at all Sadie's girth, and also that 
Sadie should give the v;hite gloves a good washing. 

From the uncompromising expenditure on details of 
j-- ^- Q S "to the slipshod production of Exqe Isior , Jr . viras a 
long and significant drop. Not that Edward "Everlasting" 
Rice was vrearing outj the American extravaganza as developed 
from The Black Crook was v/earing out. 

« Argonaut , May 17, 1897, 


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,Mrur'an^; -lovodlr ■ ..oriB o.n r 

Burlesque 264 

But the father survived with the last of his children. There 
were two productions of The Black Crook in San Francisco in 
1895. Springer and Welby's New York Company presented one 
of the revivals at Stockwell's Theatre late in March, but did 
no better than call forth this melancholy comment from the 
Argonaut for April 2, 1895: "One is filled with melancholy 
for the dear, dead days of the Kiralfy spectacles, in which 
the dancers could dance, singers could sing, and the actors 
could act," 

The other revival came forth xinder the local aegis 
of the Alcazar Theatre Company, which included Thomas C. 
Leary, of Tivoli Opera House fame, Florence Thropp, and 
the Spanish dancer Matildita, The production was launched 
as a burlesque of the old piece and was called The Black 
Crook Up-tp-Date ; but, as one would suspect, by the time open- 
ing night came around the element of burlesque was absent and 
the flimsy, old story was used merely as a sketchy system of 
pointless construction to carry the weight of the specialty 
acts. The headline act was a dance by Matildita, with the 
support of the Big Pour French Folly Dancers, Matildita, the 
public was assured, v/as actually the premiere danseuse to the 
Court of Spain, The publicity added, honestly enough, that 
the four supporting dancers, actually Americans, had only as- 
sumed their title because of their superiority to the genuine 
Big Po\ir French Folly Dancers engaged for the New York revival 
of The Black Crook two years before. 

L Rrit AihK ft£>vivii;a - li ti;H 

fcxti J'x/o' ^riotjfsM n± BiRi end'BerfT e^IXewisocte etc BX«»xvt>'i 

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Burlesque 265 

And then came tho Liliputians, with the patronage 
of Czar Alexander III redo\mding loudly to their credit in all 
their publicity. The Emperor of Russia had siimmoned the com- 
pany to the Winter Palace and had been so impressed with the 
performance of the diminutive people that he had given them 
their company name. In May 1895, they reached San Francisco 
with a production called Humpty Dumpty Up-to-Date , The tallest 
member of the company measured only thirty-eight inches in 
height, the shortest member measured a mere twenty-eight. 

The technique of their productions was obviously 
derived from the magical pantomime so exquisitely perfected 
by the Ravels and Martinettls, V'hen Humpty D\impty is about 
to sit on a chair, the chair whisks to the other side of the 
stage; he approaches a door, and suddenly there is a solid 
wall before him; in order to reach a window, he steps upon a 
table, the table quickly elongates into a flight of stairs by 
which he ascends to the window; seated v/ithln the window, he 
glances down and the flight of stairs has disappeared into 
thin air. 

The charming grotesquerie of the spectacle was 
punctuated by four ballets." The Ballet of Humpty Dumpties, 
The Ballet of Precious Stones and Metals, The Ballet of Plies, 
and The Ballet of Drinks, in which "the dresses and accessories 
represent coffee, tea, milk, chocolate, wine, beer, seltzers, 
whisky cocktails, champagne, and even Croton water. The 
tableau finishing this ballet consists of an ianraense piuich 

Burlesque ^^^ 

bov;l, with all the Liliputians as spirits of punch."'"" 
The impression conveyed here is that the little people had 
selected a particularly gay method of drowning. The staging 
of the extraordinary natatorivun is nowhere described. Stage 
historians are free to reconstruct it, each according to his 
particular bibulous fancy. 

In the meantime, San Francisco had been growing up. 
Prom the homogeneity of the community in its early days had 
developed the clear demarcation of Market Street. There was 
a North of Market and a South of Market; two kinds of uphol- 
stery, two vocabularies of slangjtvro sizes of v/hiskey ponies; 
and, very definitely, tv;o criterions of entertainment, A New 
York company in the Manhattan hit. The Passing Show , at the 
Baldwin Theatre in October 1896, crystallized this dichotomy 
in the snobbish mind of the Argonaut reviewer (October 28) t 

"I'Jhat would rejoice Tar Flat would receive the 
cold shoulder from Pacific Avenue. Melodrama 
in its temple on the other side of Market Street, 
would lose its glamoiir if it were transported 
to this side. And genteel comedy would have a 
desolate, home-sick air if they tried to domes- 
ticate it at the Tivoli, , , .Prom New York, The 
Passing Show comes stamped with the approval 
of that metropolis. It has been running at the 
Casino there, but in San Francisco it is put on 
at the Baldv;in. Three years ago the Casino 
passed from the home of light opera to the home 
of vaudeville and variety. Its patrons changed 
accordingly. The Passing Show makes its appeal 
for popularity here to the same type of audience 
that enjoyed it there, and would undoubtedly re- 
joice in the same degree of public favor. In 
transit across the continent it rose in social 

4fr Bulletin , May 11, 1895, 


scale, and when it reached the uttermost limits 
of things out here, it was supposed to be suffi- 
ciently elevated to be presented to a represent- 
ative audience of San Francisco's best. It 
was a mistake." 

\Vho would have written about social scale in San 
Francisco entertainment from 1850 to 1860? The application 
of the statement in 1895 indicated, beyond the division of 
classes, the decadence of the theatre itself. The life of 
the whole people was no longer being reflected on the stage 
by so-called "serious" writers and actors. "Genteel comedy 
was for San Francisco's best." They could evidently have it 
without a struggle, for most of the people in town could not 
be baited with such foreign moeurs and language. It was the 
old story of Hercules and Antaeus. As long as Antaeus had 
contact with Terra, his mother, he was alive and kicking. 
All that Hercules had to do to defeat him v/as to lift him 
from the earth, v/hereupon he became a limp, etiolated sponge. 
After 1895, the nineties sloped precipitately into 
the new century. Theatrical forms were on the decline. It 
was a period for the three backward steps after the four 
taken forward. Eddie Poy was back in San Francisco with a 
production of In Gay New York at the Baldwin Theatre (Novem- 
ber 1897); but there was little this accomplished comedian 
could do for an extravaganza which was all stucco facade and 
no interior. Tho critics, after discovering that the piece 
was an ill-timed imitation of Rice's 1:_4_9_2, commented 
dryly that what laughter there was in the production was on 

-- ■ .",:teecf B*^o: 

Burlesque ^^^ 

the stage. All the time-tried hypodermics were applied to the 

corpse of the play with little effect. Gags were hurled at 

the stage by actors who had been planted in the boxes. 

An actor, got up as a naive provincial, sauntered down the 

center aisle and engaged the cast in the most irrelevant and 

disconcerting sort of repartee, Eddie Poy was given "that 

venerable role, the crushed tragedian." 

"Probably it is desperation at the antiquity 
of his rolo which makes him originate a piece 
of business which is certainly new, to wit, 
seizing the female members of the chorus one 
after another, and suddenly turning them upside 

The only oncomi\Ain In Gay New York could elicit from 

the press, had to do with the cost-uralng: 

"One set of costumes, where the chorus v;ears 
very short transparent black skirts, flesh- 
colored tights, and black stockings and gartors 
over the tights, are about as startling a cos- 
tume as was evor seen on the stage...."* 

Jeanotte Bageard contributed the inevitable "imitation" of 
Yvetto Gilbert. 

Pat and thin, old and young -- there was an Yvette 
Gilbert for every stage in America. If not Yvette Gilbert, 
then Anna Held; if not Anna Held, then Carmenclta. And the 
play of the moment was Trilby . No burlesque company's bag- 
gage was complete without a Trilby-Svengali act, written hope- 
fully for laughs. 

45- Argonaut, November 22, 1897, 

Burlesque 269 

In the meantime, great waves of immigration from 
southern Europe were filling in the background for the America 
of the twentieth century. The trusts were solidifying them- 
selves in the narrow, forbidding financial streets of the big 
cities. The financial panic of the nineties, ominous fisstire 
in the expanding structure, had been hastily patched up; 
Coxey's army had been driven from the Vi/hite House lawnj and 
expert demagogy had piled up a wave of patriotism directed 
toward the conquest of Cuba, This real background of America 
had 30 far not been given a theatrical design. Perhaps Ameri- 
ca was too biisy growing up. The country was populated, but 
it had been an overnight immigration. Nobody had been here 
long enough to mature a unified culture. The New England 
fringe of culture was nothing that could be purveyed to the 
country at large. And now that the groundwork had been laid, 
a division in society was becoming apparent, America had 
probably been settled too late for an outstanding bourgeois 
culture of its own. 

.©roftjeiX ex; 
I qn . be -'- ' 
ban. ir *.';(, 






(1900 - 1906) 

In January 1898, The Conquerors opened at the Brpire 
Theatre in New York City. Paul M. Potter, professional go- 
between for French novels and the English-speaking stage, 
stimulated by the demand for his dramatization of Trilby , had 
proceeded to a dramatization of a story about the Franco- 
Prussian war, written by Guy de Maupassant, The Conquerors 
was soon regarded as on the side of dun gray in theatrical 
interest ,but on the side of turpitudinous flame in its moral- 
ity. The particularly questionable scene took place in a 
French inn which the Prussians had taken over« The Prussian 
officer leaned back in his chair, put his feet on the ta- 
ble — sinister gleam of black boots — and then bellowed 
drxinkenly at his quarry, the little French girl, her sweet 
innocence backed up fearfully against the door. The officer 
was commanding that she drink the glass of wine which he had 
forced into her hand. Revolt flared upj the girl dashed the 
wine into the officer's face and bashed the glass upon the 

.?noqo ;, 

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■.©♦.*r.xrr iioveR 

Burlesque ^''''■ 

The dashing and bashing of such melodramatic ges- 
tures in a serious play "uptown" were duck soup to the 
proprietors of the Music Hall on Twenty-ninth Street. Weber 
and Fields made of their burlesque The Con Purer s not only 
the high-water mark of their second Music Hall season, but a 
goal to shoot at in the whole history of American burlesque. 
Burlesque had started off in America as a ful 1 -bill affair , 
Satirical dialogue and action, satirical singing and dancing, 
the element of the critical parody on a great but vulnerable 
original, had gradually diminished to the point of brief, in- 
terlarded episodes in the extravaganzas. 

Weber and Fields re-expanded the satirical element 
to a full bill. This expansion was to be quickly compressed 
again by the rise of vaudeville and the Ziegfeld type of 
musical revue, but in 1898 in New York burlesque was on the 
pedestal. The first productions of Weber and Fields at the 
Music Hall had obtained from the daily papers the scant no- 
tices granted to all the other music halls and vaudeville 
houses in the city. 

The significance of the Twenty-ninth Street thea- 
tre gradually emerged v;ith each successive burlesque of a 
current, "serious" play; the reviews of Weber and Fields 
comedy lengthened, until finally the famous team was receiv- 
ing more space in the papers than Richard Mansfield. The 
New York critics were by that time in such frame of mind that 
attendance on a heavy drama was always qualified by the 

Burlesque 272 

speculation as to how good material it might be for a bur- 
lesque by the Music Hall team. The state of mind of the pro- 
ducers of legitimate drama extended itself in invitations 
that Weber and Fields attend dress rehearsals of their plays 
in order that the Music Hall might get an early start on the 
burlesque. It came to be a superstition that a Music Hall 
burlesque was a play's benediction towards success. 

An essay on burlesque in the San Francisco Chronicle 
for March 22, 1903, looks back upon this renascence and makes 
the essential point: 

"A few years ago, they commenced a new kind 
of show in New York, in which, surrounded by 
alleged comic opera they brought in burlesques 
of current plays. It was crude in the time of 
The Passing Show , this old-fashioned new trav- 
esty, for it was based upon the same peculiarly 
whimsical h'umor of which Burnand and Byron and 
others were past masters; which was distinctly 
Englisho The American humor asserted itself 
later and drew away from the old forms, giving 
us an original kind of burlesque, distinctly 
our own. Still in some of the travesties out 
of which Weber and Fields have made a great 
fortune, the same old single topsy-turvy prin- 
ciple prevails. But there has come a purely 
American treatment, not of historical subjects 
or around us, which has not yet been sufficient- 
ly crystallized to have a name.... 

''What is coming is the old, true spirit of bur- 
lesque ;and it promises to be altogether clever- 
er than the mere turning upside down of a story, 
the reductio ad absurdum. It is going to be 
keenly satirical, while broadly funny. It is 
to be a development of the old art in a more 
difficult form.... The burlesquer of the coming 
time... will have to be able to present more 
complicated values . o . , " 

The beginnings were simple. The French girl's 

glass of wine referred to above became a custard pie. The 

way for Mack Sennett and Charles Chaplin was being paved; 

o^n-.'nB;5.' ::..-'• ^.^rfc*- rroci/ sI-oscT a^fcv'". ■""■■*?■ 

•.ax ■ i- 

,:. . '>'{T 

■ , ■ .,"J3.JJ': 

: ■ . • ; ■it;'; ^T^iC.. ■ ■ ' • 

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Biirlesque ^^ 

but the dialogue was the thing of iraportance. American Idi- 
oms were being usedjthe life of Manhattan was being reflected. 
And in place of the thoughtless splendor of the extravaganzas, 
the staging now furnished a scenic comment. Everything was 
in the direction of meaning, with a certain margin allowed for 
the sheerly ridiculous, 

''In the opening scene (of The Con Curers ) 
a bust on a pedestal had a cigar in its mouth 
and a military cap cocked at a rakish angle on 
its head. A suit of armor made of stovepipe, 
pots and dish pans held a mop in its hands at 
present arms. There was a saddle on the piano, 
muddy boots on the mantel, and an umbrella jar 
was filled with swords and muskets. Major 
Wolff acen, an officer of the Uhlans, spoke with 
an Irish brogue, drank beer from a trick stein 
that filled as fast as he drank. The major, in 
writing a dispatch to General Schloppenhauser- 
vonauserblatzen, would dip his pen in the beer, 
wipe it on his whiskers and dry his whiskers 
with a blotter. A large bird cage held a small 
pig. The pig was a prisoner of war because he 
had rooted for the enemy. Three drunken peas- 
ants were brought in as spies. They were proved 
spies because they had first been seen through 
a spyglass. All three had been fishing. An 
old boot dangled from one hook and line . A 
dead cat hung from another. Its owner described 
it as a catfish. Major Wolffacen pronounced it 

In I/Iay 1889, Weber and Fields had reached San 
Francisco from New York, under contract with Gustav Walter, 
proprietor of the Orpheum Theatre, a variety house. Con- 
stantly making ever deepening inroads into insolvency, Walter 
had booked the comedy team for exactly what their own adver- 
tising gags implied. And the gags of the young men, who were 
in their early twenties at the time, were amplified on every 

■5{- Isman, Felix. Weber and Fields. 



f^briiJ v.--*t^V 

A ?^?i-liriS.-<4- v'^ 


;./fn ■!; 

Burlesque 274 

billboard in town, Walter intended to get out of the red, or 
GO under completely. Fortunately for him, the dusty, impe- 
cunious comedians belied their looks. On the stage, their pro- 
fessional costumes sparkled, and their wit was fast. 

In 1889 their act was short, but it was already 
flexible and alive. They were laiockabout comedians and the 
dialect of the German- Americans was exploited. The flexibili- 
ty was more than physical recoil; it had to do with the pene- 
tration of the two Jewish boys into the life of American 
cities. When they put a pool-room scene on the stage and 
paralleled the comedy of their actions with realistic dia- 
logue lifted out of Bowery pool-rooms, they were putting up 
one of the milestones of the American theatre, 

Weber and Fields were not to return to San Francisco 
until 1904. The tremendous development of burlesque at their 
hands in their Twenty-ninth Street music hall from 1897 to 
1904, was to be re-enaoted looaUy in faithful detail by William 
Kolb and Max Dill. Fischer's Theatre at 122 O'Farrell Street 
was to be the arena, and the season was to last for two years, 
from 1902 until 1904, . 

Weber and Fields had augmented their German iimni- 
grant dialogue with the Jewish immigrant characterizations of 
David Warfieldj a valuable addition, for Warfield was no com- 
mon comedian. Again with him, as with Weber and Fields, bur- 
lesque was not merely comic mako-up and a series of gags timed 
as successively louder explosions. Warfield knew the streets 

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fcerrucJ agsg "tosciiac 5 fixifi'q 
e;te©ic^? ./T>( faldllifiW .t;jcx£oIqjco ir 


-fiW SXip'- 



Burlesque 275 

of America where a heterogeneous people were trying to estab- 
lish a new life. These three imraigrant characters of the New 
York music hall established one of the most persistent tradi- 
tions of American burlesque. In San Francisco, Kolb and Dill 
as the two Germans were not enough; Barney Bernard was en- 
gaged to play the Jewish roles created by Warf ield, 


The eighteen months from April 1902 through Septem- 
ber 1904 at Fischer' s Theatre were contiguous mirrors reflect- 
ing the productions of the famous New York music hall. The 
first of the series was Fiddle Dee Dee . With at least one 
month's run apiece, these other burlesques followed in quick 
succession: Pousse Caf e^ Hur ly B\irly , Whirl- I-Gig , The Geezer , 
Barbara Fidgety , Koity Toity , Plelter Skelter , Twirly Whirly , 
Under the Red Globe - Quo Vass Iss ? and The Con Curers . Some- 
times the entire biirlesque was a take-off en one current play: 
The Geezer was of course the bxirlesque spoliation of the frag- 
ile Geisha j Barbara Fidgety was a ticklish handling of Clyde 
Fitch's sober drama, Barbara Frietchie ; Quo Vass Iss ? was ob- 
vious barbarism for Quo Vadis ; and The Con Curers gave unex- 
pected purpose to The Conquerors , 

Sometimes the attack was not so concentrated; 
several current dramas would receive a blow during the same 
evening. In this case, the first part of the program, e.g.: 
Pousse Cafe, would assume originality of plot, in which some 

'■■'■> , ' I'liSvtJiX ^ ■ " ■ ■ ■■?i:Exic:,' 

J IrcflVC Ys^^^ -^0*6 'iweL - 

■ n D o *• 


Burlesque 276 

well-advertised characterizations by "legitimate'' stars would 

be translated into burlesque characters: 

'' The Little Minister , in which Maude Adams 
was starring at the Garrick; La Poupe'e and Anna 
Held at the Lyric; and Belasco's The F^irst Born 
at the Manhattan came in for burlesques; but 
the main thread of the farcical story was tied 
to one Herr Wielshaben and a remarkable me- 
chanical doll of his invention. .. ."■''>'■ 

And when the plot had meandered to such wide- 
spread thinness that the bottom showed through, a specialty 
act would be interjected. The olio of minstrelsy had gone 
through some evolutions but was still not transfigured; in 
fact, a place like Hoity Toity , even with consecutiveness of 
plot, was often referred to as a "musical hodgepodge,"' The 
second half of the program would be the direct travesty of 
the current "hit'' play, or of something as old and tried as 
Antony and Cleopatra . Or the old and new might be laughed 
at together: 

"On Monday night the first of the Weber and 
Fields burlesques will be produced at Fischer's 
Theatre. It is called Fiddle -Dee-Dee , and will 
be followed by two travesties, one on Antony 
and Cleopatra , and another on the Ploradora 
Sextet which has had such a vogue ...." ""^''^ 

The roles of Weber; Fields, and Warfield had been 

taken over in San Francisco by Kolb, Dill, and Bernard. 

Lillian Russell, as New York prototype, had passed her mantle 

to Maude Amber, who played the leading lady throughout the 

Weber and Fields era at Fischer's Theatre. Winfield Blake 

■s:- Isman, Felix. Weber and Fields 
^.K' -Argonaut , April 7, 1902, 

uiifow p.i£;tc '"■ 


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■ "SO ex 

Burlesque 277 

played opposite Maude Amber as straight male lead, parallel- 
ing the De Wolfe Hopper-Lillian Russell team. Flossie Hope, 
Gertie Emerson and Olive Vail v/ore the leading dancers of the 
chorus. Prank Hermson, a diminutive person, was the little 
seen "but much heard interior of various animal pelts: a speak- 
ing Saint Bernard dog, or a singing monkey. 

Everybody was expected to sing, especially the sen- 
timental leads. Amber and Blake. Most of the books for the 
Weber and Fields burlesques were being written by Edgar Smith; 
most of the music by John Stromberg. Their collaboration had 
established another high criterion for the American theatre, 
and their songs, once presented in Nev/ York, reached a nation- 
wide diffusion months ahead of the tour of the production. 
Here was the beginning of today's Tin-Pan Alley. Among the 
many Stromberg times with the magic ability to "catch on and 
hold," were "Kiss Me,Honey,Do";"I'm A Respectable Workin'Girl"; 
"How I Love My Lu"; "De Pullman Porters' Ball"; "IWhen Chloe 
Sings a Song"; "Come Back llij Honey Boy to Me"; "Rosie, You 
Are My Posie"; and "Ma Blushin' Rose," 

Today, straight on, the dialogue of the Weber and 

Fields burlesques does not sparkle; but seen in retrospect 

against the rhymed, mythological burlesques of the Englishmen 

Burnand and Planche, the milestone is sharply visible. Prom 

I'^fhirl-I-Gig there is the repartee: 

FIFI: You might bring me a demi-tasse. 

COHENSKI: Bring me the same, and a cup of coffee. 

■'latlBtBq .fjBel.-oXjSi-fl- -^dglBicrs ee' i^dkiA obi-iii-M oi ta^ 

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.007. ioc i? <ii}d B iixia -^.ocfiBB; odi ' ■ -.- 

(1868-1932) (1871-1938) 


Burlesque 278 

Moss has grown? But there is the freshness of the following 

gag from Hurly Burly ; 

KOLB: So this is Paris I 

DILL: There is no other place around the place, 
so this must be the place. 

The nineteenth-century predilection for puns stubbornly en- 
dured. There is this sequence from Quo Vass Isa : 

RANCPIER: Hold on I The cow stamped upon this 

letter, Tho cow belongs to the govern- 
mont, hence it is a government stan^), 
I reckon you wouldn't obstruct the 
mails, colonel. 

COLONEL: There's nothing male about a cow, 

RANCHER: I guess I made a bull of it, 

COLONEL: Put down both gags. They may got a 
laught in tho War Department , 

Today this inspissated dullness would fall flat in 

any governmontal dopartmont. Again, however, thore is a more 

permanent brilliancy in another place. In Barbara Fidgety a 

politician is canvassing votes in a small town mayoralty 

campaign, on the disillusioned, bottom-dog platform of 

"To the victims belongs what is spoiled," 
Or, in Fiddle-Dee-Dee , there was this penetrating misunder- 

FIELDS: VVhat is a magnate? 

WEBER: Something that eats holes in cheeses. 

For the ear, this sort of dialogue; for the eye, 
incisive pantomime and imaginative satire in the staging. 
In 1900, Olga Nethersole was playing the lead in Sapph o at 
Wallack's Theatre in New York, directly opposite the Music 

3TS' ox/peelrtjjfi 

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Burlesque ^'^^ 

Hall. Clever publicity thickened the atmosphere of impropri- 
ety about the play; Miss Nethersole, all to the good of the 
box office, was arrested several times for her performance. 
The Music Hall inevitably capitalized. In the original play, 
one of the most questionable moments found Sappho pleading 
with the hero: "If you will only let me stay, I'll black 
yotor boots." In the travesty across the street, a merciless 
deflation had taken place. The scene was used for the final 
curtainj the hero dragged on a shoe-shine stand and sat com- 
fortably with arrogant expectancy? the burlesque Sappho then 
fell upon her toees, took a smudged towel from a shoe-shine 
kit, and dolefully swished a gleam into her tyrannical lover's 

The Fischer Theatre company had to fly high in still 
another direction to approach the excellence of its New York 
progenitor. The Music Hall had lifted the chorus from its ex- 
travaganza doldrums. Since the revolutionary days of Lydla 
Thompson, the chorus had become more and more fixed in func- 
tion until it was no more than a routine exhibit of legs at 
stereotyped intervals in the show. Then Weber and Fields had 
engaged Julian Mitchell as director-producer, 

"He (Mitchell) foxmd the chorus as standard- 
ized a theatrical institution as the proscenium 
arch. To see one was to have seen them all; 
they varied only as one potato from another. 
Its supposed function was to kindle the male 
eye with youth, fisviro,and face. It did so bad- 
ly and unimaginatively, Mitchell's Music Hall 
choruses wore the largest, shapeliest and pret- 
tiest in America, but ho also raised his yoxing 



,consrcio'iioq ".: • ■ xod 

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women to an artistic dignity to which the chorus 
never had dreamed of aspiring. He cast the whole 
dogma of chorus technic in the ash bin and inade 
his part of the show as distinctive as the prin- 
cipals'. In dancing, chorus effects, costumes 
and settings, he put the Music Hall years in 
advance of the run of its contemporaries,... 

And when the times had changed, when the momentary 

flare of Music Hall satire had been put out by the "gorgeous 

spectacles" of Ziegfeld, Mitchell would be found to possess 

the only ability in the Weber and Fields company which could 

carry over easily into the new era, 

'MWhen Plorenz Ziegfeld Jr., inaugurated the 
Follies, it was Mitchell he chose as director... 

"The Follies was the legitimate successor to 
Weber and Fields' Music Hall. Each, in its own 
time, dominated the theatrical sky line as the 
Woolworth Building does lower Manhattan's ser- 
ried range. Both were new and revolutionary 
advances in the lighter American theatre, both 
left their mark indelibly upon our stage. The 
same crsative talent that helped so largely to 
make cho Follies what it is, v/as seen in 
Mitchell's direction at the Music Hall. .. . " 

Time has greatly diminished the value of the Woolworth 
building as a simile for tallness. Today the Ziegfeld type 
of musical review has been brought very low. But the above 
quotation was written in 1924 with no pretence at prophecy. 
The fall of 1903 was tho crest of a much earlier 
wave. The company at Fischer's Theatre which had special- 
ized in scripts from the New York Music Hall began to break 

',i Isman, Felix. Weber and Fields . 

a-aeeeoq. ot" I 

-. LfaH all!.. 

><;■;' '-v " .-;^ rfblrfw ^' 

:^<-^. rv/^:i 

Burlesque 281 

up. A locally- inspired burlesque, I, 0» U. by Judson 
Brusie,* was announced for production, with the substitution 
of the Althea Twins as starred dancers in place of Flossie 
Hope and Gertie Emerson. But the success of the Kolb, Dill, 
and Bernard coirioination in the Music Hall burlesques had been 
so great that an Independent venture inevitably suggested it- 
self, Dviring the winter of 1903 and 1904, the American Travesly 
Stars was organized. It v/as a time-proven galaxy, including 
not only Kolb, Dill, and Bernard, but Winfield Blake, Maude 
Amber, Flossie Hope, and Gertie Emerson. The San Francisco 
Chronicle for April 18, 1904, contained the following notice: 

"The American Travesty Stars, who shortly leave 
for Australia on a tour of the v/orld, started 
on their farewell American engagement at the 
Grand Opera House last night. This aggregation, 
which is to produce the Weber and Fields suc- 
cesses, .. ,(ls the one).. ♦that gave Fischer's 
Theatre such a vogue for two years. The Grand 
Opera House v/as packed from top to bottom and 
hundreds v/ero unable to gain admission. ., .The 
skit Hoity Toity is well-known to all local the- 
atre-goers, and nearly every one present last 
night had seen it once or twice before. It 
went with a snap last night, although the chorus 
was a little crude. The costuming is very elab- 
orate, the management having secured many gowns 
from Weber and Fields, Maude Amber was in ex- 
cellent voice,.,," 

The great days at Fischer's Theatre, demarked by 
the long series of New York IjIusIc Hall burlesques, were over. 
The declining days in this theatre's senescence, December 

# cf, next chapter. 

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Burlesque ^^^ 

1903 to November 1904, were spent chiefly with productions of 
burlesques by San Francisco Yrt»iters, Judson Brusle contrib- 
uted three scripts: I, 0, U ., U. S ,, and The Mormons ; J. C. 
Crawford, two scripts. The Beauty Shop and Miss Mazuma ; 
Howard Jacotte, one, Dovm the Line . Will Car let on and Lee 
Johnson, in addition to writing music and lyrics for some of 
the other burlesques, contributed two shows of their own: 
Roly-poly, and The Anheuser Push.*"" The production of three 
scripts from Nev>r York filled out this final year at Fisch- 
er's: Chow-Chow, A Lucky Stone , and T he ^.Vhirl of the Town , 

The trinitarian descendancy from Wober, Fields, and 
Warfield, continued in an unbrokon line, perpetuating one of 
the most persistent of traditions in the American theatre. 
Two German immigrants and a "Hebrew impersonator" had become 
the nucleus of American comedy. With the American Travesty 
Stars company still nebulous, """"^ Kolb, Dill, and Bernard were 
together at Fischer's in Decombor 1903 when Brusie's I. 0. U . 
opened. Thereafter the trio underwent quick transformation. 
For a short time it was Kolb, Dill, and Bon Dillon. In May 

1904 there was a complete change with Gus Yorke, Nick Adams, 
and Al Fields. 

Starting with the production of A Luc^cy Stone 
in July, and carrying right on through the production of Down 
the Line in October, the trio was made up of the team of Rice 

i^ Anhaeuser-Busch (brewing company) 
•;c-?jcf. last chaoter. 

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Bvirlesque 283 

and Cady, together with Bobby North. The succession of lead- 
ing ladies, follov;ing the departure of Maude Amber after the 
production of I.O.U ,, included Helen Russell, Caroline Hull, 
and Dorothy Morton. John Pcachey and EdY/in Clarke divided 
the male leads. The Althoa Sisters, star dancing team of the 
troupe, were replaced in June 1904 by the Garrity Sisters. 
In August, Flossie Hope had returned from her Australian tour 
with the American Travesty Stars, and was quickly re-ongagcd 
at Fischer's v;ith Pearl Hiclanan as her assistant. 

The role of soubrotte in the company went through 
as many name-changes as any of the other roles. To be engaged 
as soubrette in 1904 meant first of all ability as a comedi- 
enne; and you would be expected to sing — not the romantic 
songs of the leading lady, but something with "vivacity and 
spice." And if the show contained a slack moment, the sou- 
brette vrould as likely as not be called on for a specialty act 
of some kind. Georgia O'Ramey, Nellie Lynch, and Edna Aug 
filled consecutive engagements up to July 1904 when it was 
annoiinced that "an Eastern actress by the name of Nora Bayes" 
would be the new soubrette in the production of A Lucky Stone . 
Late in August, Nellie Gerin replaced Nora Bayes for a brief 
engagement, Georgia O'Ramey then returned to complete the 
long run of burlesques at Fischer's in October. 

The only advantage the local burlesques might claim 
over their Eastern competitors was that they were written with 
an ear and eye for the particular abilities of the Fischer 

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Bvirlesquc 284 

troupe. The plot situations were entirely subordimated to 

some imitative usage of the Weber, Fields, and Warfield type 

of dialogue, Tho following resume of the plot of I,0,U ,ap- 

peared in tho Argonaut for November 30, 1903: 

"The plot is based upon the trials of three 
hotel proprietors (two Germans and a Jew*), who 
become financially ombarpassed by reason of hav- 
ing housed and fed a circus outfit, which also 
becomes bankrupt and therefore is \inablo to pay 
for its board and lodging. As a compromise a 
trade is made v/hereby the circus manager ex- 
changes his circus for tho hotel property, and 
tho landlords become ov/ners of the circus, 
v/ith such direful consequences and complica- 
tions as to bring about a final ro-transf or, 
the circus man going back to tho sawdust ring, 
and the landlords returning to thoir hotels." 

Tho Beauty Shop by J, C, Crawford was built as def- 
initely about the basic triad of the Now York Music Hall, as 
I,O.U . 

" The Beauty Shop is said to have a coherent 
plot, and tolls of tho adventures of a Chicago 
woman, who having married, robbed, and deserted 
an honest German, comes to San Francisco. Here 
she marries again, and is picked up by a specu- 
lative Hebrew, who starts her in the business 
of making unsightly people beautiful. The beauty 
shop does not prosper, so the Hebrew tries to ob- 
tain financial assistance from a Chicago visitor, 
the manager of a pretzel trust. He is the wom- 
an's first husband, and hor efforts to conceal 
her identity, also to keep tho Imowlodge of her 
past from her second husband, lead to some amus- 
ing complications. The scenes of the first and 
second acts are laid in the beauty shop, and the 
third is located on the ocean beach near the 
Cliff House, "^-^ 

In U. S » by Judson Brusie, tho innocent immigrant 
trio is plvmged Into a confused, international fracas. 

* San Francisco Chronlclo , December 1, 1903, 
-"" ^Argonaut , January 11, 1904 . 

.riL-.H I'fi/C >:':-'■'■'■ -.7;-/l ;.v.!,t lo'j olsi:^ od'J ^issodr^^ rxod-'inJ- 


Burlesque 285 

"Some of the stage business of l»0«y . has been 
revamped to fit the new piece ( U,S » ), which ±3 
based on the starting of a revolution in one of 
the South -(Imerican republics by two Hebrews, a 
German and an Irish fugitive, with the intention 
of declaring a nev; republic and securing the 
protection of the United States by turning over 
a strip of land for a coal station. After some 
legal explanations. v;hich permitted some humor- 
ous play, the rebellion is started, but the ar- 
rival of an American man-of-war quickly puts a 
stop to it and things are straightened out."* 

The pivotal comedy trio was also kept intact for 

the Anheuser Push , where again a slight odor of international 

intrigue prevails. 

"Rice, Cady, and Bobby North v;ill impersonate 
three millionaire brewers, calling themselves 
The Anheuser Push. Ben Dillon is to be a de- 
tective and Edv/ard Clarke the president of the 
ice trust. The latter also appears as an organ- 
grinder with a real organ, monkey, and a chorus 
of organ-grinders . " '-'<^^ 

But the trend of the later burlesques at Fischer's 
was more and more away from the unified plots v;hich the Nov/ 
York Music Hall had dono so much to re-establish. The follow- 
ing notice for Dovm the Line , last of the Fischer biirlesques, 
appeared in the San Francisco Chroniclo , October 4, 1904: 

"The book is by Howard Jacotte, but as he de- 
nies any attempt at coherency of plot, vro can- 
not scorn him for the lack of it and v/e must be 
grateful that ho has £;lven a vehicle into #iich 
some lively spectacles could bo thrown \7ithout 
serious mishap." 

Evidently, burlesque, despite the pioneering of 

Weber and Fields, had not yet come to firm enough grip VYith 

-;? San Francisco Chronicle , May 30, 1904. 
-)Hi- Argonaut , August 22, 1904 . 

Gois; aupssiTjjc 

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~n ■ •- ■ 

'I:0':3fi.!:'ioeno2q orf:t ocflqec. 

- . j:^i ^yi ^;"' ""i ■'^^J^^y :I--^.C%^-'- 

Burlesque 286 

American life to keep hold. Tne momentary clarity of the 
satiric face was quickly blurred, and the architectureless 
entertainment of vaudeville took procodonco. 


Prom August 1905 through most of tho yoar 1906, the 

car of Thespis was taking a gay ride down the declivity from 

the heights of Weber and Fields burlesque to the shapeless 

plain of variety and vaudeville. 

"The new California Theatre under the inanage- 
ment of Charles P. Hall will reopen tomorrow 
(Sunday) night inaugurating the new policy, the 
burlesque v;heel which is to revive for fifty- 
two consecutive weeks, from New York to this 
city, presenting a new traveling company each 
week. The first spoke of the burlesque wheel 
to revolve on Sunday night will bo the Dainty 
Paree Burlosquers, presenting tho latest musi- 
cal comedy Tho Married Bachelor ."^*' 

As tho burlesque wheel turned from such a company 
as the Dainty Paroe to tho Brigadier Burlesquers, to tho 
Kentucky Belles, to the Jolly Grass Widows, to the Waahlngton 
Society Girls, to the Tiger Lillies, to the Utopians, to the 
Gaiety Girls — as the biirlesque wheel tvirned it gradually 
lost all the clinging dirt of the home country, until finally 
the whole emphasis of the California Theatre was in the direc- 
tion of specialty programs. 

The phenomenon was of course national. The special- 
ty coinpanies at the tip of each spoke in the wheel were being 
rotated to all the major cities of tho country; and the way 

* Argonaut , August 28, 1905. 

.r:f'o<:rar{s' Qs£:i' oi swpBal.'n/. 


1 ■ .-ovi: 


►ac-t^i ^.Bl: ie;;^ 

Burlesque 287 

was clear. The keystone to the dominancy of burlesque had 
already been removed in January 1904, with the closing of the 
Weber and Fields Music Hall in New York City. After a brief 
to\ir, the famous partnership had been dissolved. There had 
been a personal difference, obscure and recorded almost en- 
tirely from hoarsay; but other general factors had entered. 
The Iroquois Theatre fire In Chicago, DecombGr 30, 1903, in 
which 575 persons lost their lives, had stimulated a stringent 
recording of fire laws throughout the country. 

"New York enforced drastic changes calling 
for now fire \7alls,asbosto3 curtains, increased 
exits and Tonobstructcd alleyways on each side of 
a theater. The music hall would have to be re- 
built or abandoned. Fields was for abandoning 
Itj Weber opposed." -J*- 

And then the hub of the city had shifted. The 
Pennsylvania Railroad had commenced the construction of its 
Thirty-fourth Street terminal; and the New York Central rail- 
road had laid the foundation for its new terminal, not on 
Twenty-third Street as previously announced, but on Forty- 
second, The TWenty-ninth Street music hall v/ould shortly be 
too far out on the fringe of activity for the faithless thea- 
tre-goer. At this time, any theatre in the city would have 
been available to Weber and Fields, but their friends insisted 
that the intimacy of the performances in the little Music 
Hall Theatre had contributed a great deal to their success. 

* Isman, Felix. Wober and Fields. 

' ■ .' ■ ^ - •" " 


l.-^^lj.- V J. 

iio 1. 

Burlesque , 288 

So tho tv/o comodians said nothing about the personal quarrel, 
permitted thoir friends to think that tho Weber and Fields 
Company was merely stalling for time, and headed West on what 
no one would have believed was tho company's last tour. 

The mechanization of tho country is what the eyo 
saw; and the decline of the brief excellence of burlesque 
was to be in inverse ratio to the ascent of American Industry. 
The geographical expansion of the country had been exhausted 
and the population had turned back upon itself for a brief 
moment of criticism. No^v the industrial expansion had gained 
full headway, and for the time being there was neither time 
not inclination for criticism. Satirical comedy had little 
foothold in the positive movomont forward in heavy industry. 

The programs of the California Theatre tended more 
and more towards "pure" entertainment. It was no longer a 
matter of thought, but of mechanical ability on the trapeze or 
with sleight of hand. There was Yvetto, tho sensational elec- 
trical dancer J and tho Kellar Zouave Girls from London in 
their startling lightning drill, v;all- climbing, and march; 
and Gray and Graham, tho musical bollboy and the military 
maid. With tho applause wearing thin on tho last specialty, 
the Marvelous Bard would perform a daring slack-wire act; and 
then camo the Brothers Molvin, sonsational .gymnasts. 

The outv/orn form of the nunstrol show had been re- 
vived, Tho first part of the program v/as an olio which might 
contain anything, from Prank O'Brien tho "fxanniclcor" to the 

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Burlesque ^^^ 

Rozinos, "the jugglers of a billiard table." The rest of the 

p-rogram was given over to farce, usually two of them, loosely 

constructed and more concerned with the exploitation of 

specialty talent and the exhibition of the chorus than with 

any plot sequence. This emphasis is clear from the following 

notice in the San Francisco Chronicle for December 24, 1905'. 

"The Broadway Gaiety Girls is the attraction an- 
nounced for the California Theatre for Christmas 
week, opening with the matinee on Christmas Day, 
The company numbers some very well-known vaude- 
ville performers, and among those with the com- 
pany are Mildred Stoller, John Weber, Gardner, 
West and Sunshine, Marie Green, the Melrose 
troupe of acrobats. Jack Marshall, the Green 
Sisters, and Konny and Hollis. The chorus is 
said to bo of exceptional merit. Fine costumes 
and scenic effects will help to make the pro- 
gramme a pleasing one. The final performance by 
the Thoroughbreds Company takes place this af- 
ternoon or tonight. For New Year's Week, the 
California announces The Jolly Girls Extrava- 
ganza Company," 


The burlesque wheel at the CaOifornia Theatre turned 
towards vaudeville entertainment against a shifting and uncer- 
tain backgro\ind in the rest of the theatres in San Francisco; 
except, that is, for the duration of Music Hall burlesques at 
Fischer's Theatre, and the prolonged career of pantomime at 
the Tivoli, These latter shoijvhousos fiirnishod the sharp lines 
in the theatrical picture of the years 1900 to 1906. In the 
background was a great deal of xm theatrical pastiche. 

Entertainment often claimed as little for itself as 
the grand finale of the Rentz-Santley Combination show at the 

■ ■ ■^-' 70cff!i$s©Q rtol sffiinoiilO ooelOfTBt'5 obS oriv nl '^'^■•■- > - 

'R eiS': 

v-i^-i . ■ 'to 

-'if: -. . 

■'V ■* 

Burlesque 290 

Alhambra Theatre in January 1900. 

"The chief charm of the entire performance is 
the grand finale, 'An Affair of Honor,' adapted 
from the famous French painting of that name at 
the Bonjere Salon, Paris. There are three scenes 
to tho pantomime, ending with a very realistic 
duel between tvro pretty women, who are decidedly 
adroit with the foils.^'^' 

Or tho city would be set agog by a troupe of juvenile stars in 
Palmer Cox's operetta Tho Brovjnios , foaturing Carroll, a girl 
^TJhistler, and Marie Louise Conloy, youngest cornetist on the 
stage, playing "The Holy City." 

Occasionally, a hopeful revival of some tried suc- 
cess would be inserted in a dry season, Aladdin, Jr . opened 
at the Grand Opera House in February 1900, featuring a 
"throng of thirty-six beauties in a kaleidoscopic ballet en- 
titled The Festival of the Mandarins, "'=^''- In July of the same 
year, the Dunne and Ryley comedians applied themselves to the 
well-kno^jm success of Matthews and Bulgor, By the Sad Sea 
Waves. In December 1902, 

"...after a lapse of many years, Humpty Dumpty 
has been revived as a Christmas spectacle, and 
the now generation of thoater-goors infoo witnessed 
last night's performance at tho Central Theater 
greeted it with the same enjo3Tnent that charac- 
terized the earlier productions. The extrava- 
ganza has been brought up-to-date by the intro- 
duction of current gags and specialties. .. .The 
scenic effects vrore elaborate, and the grand 
transformation, 'A Good Child 'j Dream' was a 
feature of the iDroduction. , . ."''^'"""* 

-"■ Bulletin , January 7, 1900. 

i^it Ibid. February 6, 1900. 

►;M:-;tSan Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 1902. 

,<)0Q1 X"^BSJnBl lit 6^:i&etiT B'K^r.i:-^!^ 
, -.. - Lionii"J: - ^ IX 

-ouQ- hQtn:^ ^i.:<>u w .. '.V ; . -1 ..^..- «... ,v. -.,.... c.., ■ 

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odT, . . t £0 f ' r ;-. ■ -/.raro t.o no f.^ o^f^ 

-'■■',♦. «auxJOf;jboic 6ro ■ 1:; ox:;-;: 

Burlesque 291 

Again at the Central Theatre, April 5, 1904, another nine- 
teenth century production \vas given a fresh, cosmetic mask. 

*'The Central Theatre last night ptit on its 
biggest bill in a spectacular production of 
Arovjid the W orld In Ei.gjity Days .... One of the 
featiu'-es of the performance was the Oriental 
ballet by fifty girls under the direction of 
Bothv/oll Browne. A champagne dance and a Per- 
sian scarf dance wore enthusiastically ap- 
plauded. . , ."'"- 

A revival of '"'colossal'' proportions, was the Klaw 

and IHrlanger production of the Drury Lane spectacle. Mother 

Goose , at the Grand Opora Houso in January 1905. 

"The ballet at the finalo of the first act 
is called 'L'Art Nouveau, ' and roprosonts in 
choruses and processions products of art in 
raanufacturo, displaying carvod ivory, wrought 
bronzes and iron, mosaics, Irridoscont glasses, 
earthenware, limogos, enamels, gold work, trans- 
parent onaraojls, jevrolry and thj diamond. Over 
400 people appear in this feature. The great 
ballot 'Koartsoase' at the end of the second act 
is preceded by a minor ballet called 'The Land 
of Frost and Ice' — a reinarkably beautiful 
scene, composed of frosted beadwork. This melts 
into the 'Land of Heartsease' showing nearly 400 
people in most gorgeous costumes in every hue 
of the pansy," ** 

The original Moth er Goose had been thoroughl^r plucked and the 
painted feathers rearranged in a shoT,Ty, superficial pattern. 
The imaginative intensity of the Llartinotti-Ravel version of 
Mother Goose was dispersed. The feeling for simple but gen- 
uinely theatrical fantasy had boon dissipated in the cloying 
complexity of a meaningless design. 

■> San Francisco Chronicle , April 5, 1904. 
-;H;-Ibid, February 6, 1905. 

8 J I no- v'-J-fG- J-Cli- ■ •: - '■ ... "j..' '- Si;. 

lo noi:.d-Cx.'.f?'.!''ic: 

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Burlesque 292 

Vv'ith tho gradual collapso of Idoa in entertainment, 
it was in the spirit of the times to enjoy the antics of ju- 
venile troupes, 3othv;ell Rrovme furnished most of the mate- 
rial v/ith his t'.TO musical extravaganzas. Princess Fan Tan and 
Cleopatra Up to Date , Princess Fan Tan T«jas first proscntod 
at the Grand Opora House in September 1904 and v/as revived 
at The Chutes Theatre in December 1905, The pseudo-Egyptian 
furnished the Cliristmas entertainm.ent at The Chutes Theatre 
immediately upon the closing of the pseudo- Japanese. 

Upon her second presentation, the Princess found 
herself amidst some rather mature company, human and other- 

"Prin cess Fan Tan , the delightful Japanese musi- 
cal elctravaganza, participated in by nearly 300 
clever children, Vt'ill receive its final presen- 
tation at the Chutes this afternoon and evening, 
and at the Monday matinee. Princess Trixie, the 
wonderful educated horse, v/ill reappear in her 
extraordinary exhibitions, Henderson and Ross, 
refined singers and dancers will make their 
first bow, and 'Bob Pitzsimanons, ' the boxing 
kangaroo from Australia, will indulge in three- 
round goes. The Bothwell Brovme Gaiety Girls 
will present Twirly ViOiirly and Marie Straub, 
the singer of illustrated ballads, and the ani- 
matoscope v/ill v.]B.lze up the bill."* 

The tangential reference of importance here is to the 
animatoscope, an early form of the kinetoscope or movie pro- 
jector. It was at this time that crude bits of cinema were 
becoming a part of variety entertainment. 

* San Francisco Chronicle , Decor^ibor 5, 1905. 

ed"* '^ i 

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^ ^, -! , .5. 

Burlesque 293 

Bothwell Brovme's second panorama of oriental royal- 
ty received little notice in the press* C].eopa tra-Up- to-Pat q 
was patted on the back — ''the piece v/ill be beautifully 
mounted" j"*^ but more v/as mace of the sentimental occasion than 
of the content of the nho"/ — ", , . tomorroTAf afternoon every 
child in attendance will be given a present off the Christmas 

The disappointiiient of the 1904 winter season was 

the long-heralded J;ilian Mitchell production of The Wizard of 

Oz « This had been Mitchell's first Mew York production after 

the dissolution of the '.Vober and Fields Music Hall company, 

and the metropolis had crowded to the shov? v/ith great acclaim. 

A second company, however, had been sent out on the road and 

evidently little remained of the original show except 

Mitchell's masterly direction of chorxis routine. 

"The company was not, of course, the Now York 
company, but ^vithout being too captious, it may 
be said that there would be little difficulty 
in getting up a better cast from our own cheap 
theaters. It was mainly a leg show; not that 
the legs v/ere any prettier than we can find on 
our o\«m stago, but both principals and chorus 
did better with their limbs than with their 
heads, Thoy only silenced criticism when they 
danced. . . ."-"-■»"-"- 

Earlier this aame year, February 1904, the final 

tour of the Music riall company had brought V'eber and Fields 

to San Francisco, in a double burlesque bill at the Grand 

* San Francisc o Chronicle , December 17, 1905. 
-:Hfr Ibid. Deconber 24, 1905. 
-:HHj-Ibid. December 20, 1904. 

. zeeT 't:-; 'it eolcton eX.-tS., 


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£iil. ■..•:-. 

Burlesque 294 

Opera House. A few sentences from the San Francisco Chroni -' 

cle for February 9, 1904 indicate how clearly the heads and 

shoulders — the heads chiefly -- of this great comedy team 

were above the other burlosquers of their times 

"There is something about the Weber and Fields 
performance \'\^ich 3rows upon the audiences. It 
is a new and complete comedy act. Care and in- 
finite pains do' not stop with providing bril- 
liant accessories, but ^o on to make a full and 
harmonious comedy. 

'".Vhen the curtain wont dovm after the first part 
it had to como up half a dozen times, and the 
audience would not be satisfied until Charley 
Ross, voicins the feelings of Weber and Fields, 
who stood by in the make-up of marble statues, 
had said some very nice things to the audience, 
and Miss Russell had curtsied and e:cpre3sed her 
great pleasure at being among those present. 

" Whoop-De e-Doo in two ^^Thoops led the bill, the 
second part being a clover burlesque of Cath- 
erine. For real v/it and humor, exploded oppor- 
tunely, the piece boats any of the Weber and 
Fields shows v/hich had been seen here, 

"V/eber and Fields are earnestly funny. If their 
hiunor is slov/er to captivate than that of Kolb 
and Dill, it is a great deal more satisfying 
when it has you going." 

A more encouraging emphasis upon the intelligence 
of the period would bs given if this chapter could end at 
this point yrithout the falsification of events; but the en- 
tertainment on the eve of the great conflagration in 1906 was 
a theatrical form, as old and outworn as the architecture 
about to be consiimed. In February 1906, the Belasco and 
Mayer stock company at the Alhambra Theatre announced the pro- 
duction of The Black Crook . After the event, it becomes sym- 
bolic that this old member of the burlesque family should 


Burlesque 295 

have been present at the holocaust; but the fire was ill- 
timed. Ziegfeld was to give the extravaganza form an 
extended lease on life. 



(1907 • 1940) 


"There is something about these F ollies which 
affects one like a drug. Perhaps that is why 
the average over-taxed business man likes them, 
I cannot say I do, for they seem to stun and 
perplex and narcotize the judgment .... It is 
rather disconcerting to realize that ^vhile the 
legitimate drama is being pushed, shoved, and 
hustled by the 'Movies' to htimbly taking a back 
scat, or going out of sight altogether, 
Zio£;feld'3 Folllos grow more popular from yoar 
to yoar," 

This quotation from tho Argonaut , March 27, 1915, 
might well inscribe the pediment of the theatre for this whole 
latter pariod, 1907 to the present day, T, B, M, became an 
accepted abbreviation in the press for the tired business man. 
Oceanic margins had very natxorally defined the geographical 
expansion of the coiontry. The oconomic contradictions of pro- 
duction and consumption in private finance, both nationally 
and internationally, were to define, very artificially, the 
possibilities of industrial expansion. Inevitably tired from 
an excess of stock exchange g^Tiinastics, the business man was 
to endure a ride on war boom inflation, steep as a f\inicular 


nam e- 

(o^oJ „ vc:i:s , 


/ev b»r 

Bvirlesque 297 

railv/ay, v;ith an equally precipitate descent to depression on 
the other aide of the peak. 

The approach to reality, to the all-central con- 
raodity, was Toy i-iiOans of the labor saving device, with the 
resultant speed up in raanuf acturo. The tempo of life 
in gen&ral v/as geared up to conii'aodity production t the archi- 
tecture v/as the sl-cyscraper; the music was a pseudo-Negroid 
percussion; the great bull: of the literature was the easily 
read, easily forgotten pulp magazine; the ontertaininent of 
most people was the qxiickly comi'.iercialized cinema. The musi- 
cal revues of Florenz Ziegf eld, George ^ATiite^and Earl Carroll, 
were no doubt typical entertainment of the period; but, al- 
though a development out of the popularly priced burlesque- 
extravaganzas, they were priced inaccessibly beyond popular 

In form, the Manhattan musical review contributed 
nothing to the history of burlesque. The chief elements were 
those initiated by The Black Crook production in 1868, 
Tiaraed and plumed nudity vms the major characteristic. 
Julian Mitchell, in Ziegf eld's employ, elevated the quality 
of chorus routine; but the expansion of the satirical element 
by Weber and Fields was again compressed to brief interstices 
of irrelevant comedy. 

The first of the large Nev/ York reviews reached San 

Francisco in July 1915; 



"From the V/inter Garden comes The Pasainp; Show 
of 1912 , the production -vhich broke all records 
for attendance at this famous place of enter- 
tainment and repeated the triumphs in Chicago, 
Boston, and Philadelphia. The local tv/o weeks' 
engagement iviaich will ho played at the Cart The- 
atre, hoglns Monday night, July 6. The Passing 
Show is one of those spectacular affairs which 
challenge description. There are seven acones 
and the musical numbers follov; one another v/ith 
remarkable dispatch. Ned Wayburn was the pro- 
ducer, and it is agreed that he has never done 
more excellent work in the way of arranging 
novel numbers. 

"Bits from nearly every important drs-jna and muv- 
alcal play of the past season are joined togeth- 
er in the plot. There are many characters and 
each is recognized. The harem scene from Kismet 
is empl077-ed to advantage. In this there is the 
immense " swimming pool occupying the centre of 
the harem, and into it plunge — not three girls 
as in the cast of Kismet , but sixteen — and even 
the gorgeous Trixio P"'riganza goes headlong into 
the tank. Then there are brief scenes from 
Bunty Pull s the Strings , Officer 666 , A Butter - 
rTy' on " £He V.'hool, Oliv er Twist , Bought and Paid 
For , Tho~~Roturn of Potor Grimm , and others • . . • 

"Charles J. Ross, famous for twenty years as a 
king of trav>:j3tyj Trixie Friganza, who needs 
no introduction; Adelaide, the Bernhardt of the 
ballet; J. J. Hughes, whose dances have become 
international; Clarence Harvey, Texas Guinan, 
Howard and Howard, Moon and Morris, and a chorus 
of eighty, are included in this extraordinary 
organization*" * 

The aquatic episode is elaborated in the Argonaut 
for July 12, 1913: 

''(Enormously clever was Trixie Friganza' s) pink 
gauze travesty on Gertrude Hoffman's 'Spring 
Song,' with its abrupt aquatic finale." 

Miss Friganza dominated the production. She had a 

"rich, hearty voice"; she "supplied a steady stream of comic 

«• Argonaut, July 5, 1913. 

S'tn3 nj-Jr 

BurlGsque 299 

interlude"; her legs wore "plumply agile''; and her face was 
to be observed closely, because like all "higher-up artists, 
her whole being, mental and ph^'-sical, pours itself v;hole- 
souledly into the represontation."*'*' 

But it was neither the individual career of Trixie 
Friganza nor Texas Guinan v/hich had to do with the future of 
burlesque in America, The prophetic note in The Pas sing Sho w 
of 1912 was the runway do^/n which the ''fair choral company" 
paraded into tantalizing proximity with the audience. The 
word "burlesque" was beginning to take on the meaning which 
it has today in the strip-tease showhouses of the country. 

This decadent direction of the future had still not 
worn out all the evidence of a more intelligent past. The 
contribution of V/eber and Fields to burlesque v/as still visi- 
ble in this same Issue of Tlio Passing Show . David Warfield 
had gone directly from the New York Music Hall to stardom at 
Belasco's Theatre, Now that ho had gained international fame 
in "heavy, legitimate" drama, it v/as his turn to be deflated, 
as ho had deflated so many of his contemporaries. 

"Among the ranks of the men (in The^ Pass ing 
Show of 1912 ) there are many to commend. V/illie 
Howard, however, is the one whoso ability stands 
out most prominently in the mind. Ho gave a re- 
markable imitation of ^,-7arf ield's Petor Grinim, 
the vocal Intonations, with their occasional 
c-urious tcndenc^r toward childisliness and the 
falsetto shriokinoss that comes out in War- 
field's moments of histrionic agitation, be- 
ing particularl^r faithful. Willie Howard is 
the kind of performer upon whose lightest ac- 
cents the audience hangs devoutly...,"'^ 

* Argonaut , July 12, 1913. 



B\irle3que "500 

Willie Howard and his brother Eugene were to become 
the constant luminaries of more than a decade of musical re- 
views. In fact, to furnish ''glorifying" backgrounds for a 
few brilliant oo:nedians, singers and dancers was to be the 
chief function of the Ivlanhatban spectacles. The backgrounds, 
so li-nportant in th--ir ovm time, are now forgotten in the enor- 
mous vaults of the "old scenery'' v/arehouses in New York City; 
or, more depressing and significant, in the cheap rooming- 
houses where the aging vaii.dovillians and chorines are trying 
to fill out their truncated professional lives. 

The scenic background for The Pass ing S ho w of 1915 
which played at the Cort Theatre in May 1914, is preserved in 
a description in the Argonau t (May 9, 1914): 

"Prom a scenic standpoint nothing of greater 
magnitude than the reprodu.ction of the Capitol 
Steps at ■■ashington has ever been shown on any 
stage. A portion of that part of Broadway known 
as Tango Sqtiare is also siaoxm pictorially. Here 
are introduced every Icnoi.'m variety of the pres- 
ent terpsichorean mania and a revival of the 
old-fashioned cake-v/alk, v;hich has proved to be 
one of the most popular numbers in the revue. 
The spirit of the dance enters into the sky- 
scrapers and at the finale of the scene the en- 
tire company with its iDicturesque backing of 
tall buildings are all moving to the strains 
of the syncopation," 

The headlined performers before this architectural 
replica included ''Conroy and Lc Maire, the inimitable black- 
face comedians; Charlos and ?'IolliG King, travesty favorites, 
v/ho appear to advantage as Broadway Jones and Peg O'My Hearty 

Bxirlesque . 301 

Elizabeth Goodall, one of New York's favorite comediennes; 
''Taiting and Burt, singers and popularizers of songs,..; Mazie 
King, the international toe-dancing favorite; Artie Mehlinger, 
another San Francisco favorite; Teddy Wing and George Ford, 
dancing experts; Henry Norinan, last seen locally in the David 
Henderson extravaganza productions; Louise Bates, Laura Hamil- 
ton, Ernest Plare, Charles Van, Leslie Powers, and others."''^ 

In 1916, Marilyn Miller and Alexis Kosloff emerged 
to stardom. This same sdition of T he Passin g Show again 
featured the Plov/ards in a burlesque Trilby * Howard Marsh, 
Clarence Harvey, "and some others whose identity it was diffi- 
cult to seize in the general whirl, did valuable fill-in 
work,"-'5-;:-i»pixi-in-work" is the relevant term hero. The Weber 
and Fields burlesque has been rodxiced to brief, interlarded 
skits. These "fill-ins," short travesties and specialty num- 
bers, if taken out of the context of thirty-six beautiful 
girls, were nothing more than the disconnected elements of a 
vaudeville prograjn. 

Duping this interval between 1914 and 1916 the "rui>- 
way" had become an integral part of burlesque. The big show 
out of New York to reach San Francisco in 1915, was called 
The \Vhirl of the World . There was the usual v;hirl of the 
specialty acts; Exigene Howard ^vas still the accomplished foil 
to his brother Willie's famous rejoinders. But chiefly, 
there v/-as the "runway." 

-X- Argonaut , May 9, 1914. 
'JH:-Ib£d. lay 20, 1916. 


,'• i*«t;w/'*""e^iri• 


Burlesque 302 

"The runway, greatly favored by a majority of 
the inale aTidleiice, bridged the lower auditorium 
from the stage to the rear, and at this vantage 
point we v;ere permitted to see, at close range 
the substantial charms of the vivacious Texas 
Guinan, and to cast appraising glances at the 
rose-lighted shapes of the chorus girls as they 
passed singing along, ,. ,V/hen the show-girls went 
through the usual process of parting v/ith their 
wraps and revealing themselves, their skirts 
v;ere narrow. Long, sheathing, trailing skirts 
they were, and the pretty girls who v'ore them had 
coquettishly adjusbod, doublo-plumed head- 
dresses, which swayed rhytiimically and piqtiantly 
as they v;cnt tlirough their showgirl paces, 

"Seats n.jar the riuiv/ay included privileges, for 
the fascinating Miss C-uinan bestowed upon 
closely contiguous brld heads the rare distinc- 
tion of a G-uinan kiss,,.. But although I admit 
to finding the runway parade entertaining in 
spite of its rather questionable taste, it seems 
to me that made-up stage beauties at dose range 
are rather daujitlng to a fastidious taste. V/e 
can see the thick red paste on their llpS;, the 
thick black aroTind their eyes, the smears of 
enamel on their marble arms and shoulders.... 
But, at close range, how hard thoy seem to be 
v;orking. One then that these gilded 
toys, as they seem on the stage, arc human and 
are sv^eating for a bare living," 

This quotation from the Argonaut for February 20, 
1915, has a great deal of importance for this histcry, Alinost 
all of the meaning that the word ''burlesque" has for people 
in 1940 is inherent in this report by the Argonaut critic. 
Strip-tease and rumway -- there is no longer a theatrical form; 
there is simply the frank display of a highlighted form. 

The glare and noise in the staging of musical re- 
ives, the tinseled innuendos of the disrobing of the "glori- 
fied" girls, increased throughout the nineteen-twenties pro- 
portionately to the post-war expansion of Araerican business. 

« .*xe^ixf 1 

Biirlesque 303 

The Ziegfeld Follies for 1918, v/hich reached San Francisco in 
1920 after a for tune -making tour, started the upv/ard curve of 
ela'borate display, which successive shows nmst top or fail. 
The Greenwich Village Follies in 1921, De Courville' s Londo n 
F ollies in 1922, The Spice of 1922 in 1923, The Pepper Box 
Rovue also in 1923, The Passing Show in 1924, Artists and 
Models in 1925, The Passing Show again in 1925, George V/hite ' a 
Scandals in 1926, Exposures in 1927, Gay Paree in 1928, The 
Music Box Rqvu q in 1929 1 these are the shows Vi/hich marked the 
highest development of tlie Ziegfold t-jj)c of burlesque, They 
also were the shov;s which '•larkod -'che last stage of development 
in the extravaganza form initiated by The Black Crook , half a 
century earlier. 

Now names had flashed into repu.tations that were to 
become a permanent part of Ainerioan stage history; in addition 
to the Howards and Texas Gtiinan, there were Georgie Price, 
Sophie Tucker, Mamie Smith, Chic Sale, and Ethel Waters, The 
American musical review had boon aggrandized to moniomental 
proportions; the big shows with the great names v/ere sent out 
from New York along the arterial trunk lines, and a culttiral 
pulse v/as established tl'iroughout the country. Very few people 
detected a flutter in this pulse. Just as few people paral- 
leled the rise of the Ziegfeld reviev/ to the rise of the New 
York stock market after the war. As lines on a graph, how- 
ever, they were united in the precipitous decline of 1929, 


The papier-mache interior of the big sho"/ was exposed, and the 
uprooted talent, the great names, were cast out Into the last 
days of vaudeville, into night-club entertainment, into radio, 
into cinema. 


Plorenz Ziegfeld, George ''Tiite, and Sari Carroll 
manipulated the most representative stage entertainment in 
/anerica for two decades. Against the brightness of their 
■•'big-moneyed" casts very few other lights vrere visible; and 
when visible, thoy assumed the same pattern described by the 
Follies , the S candals , or the Vanities. 

Low Field's first independent venture following the 
rift in the Y/ebor and Fields partnership was a ^'musical ex- 
travaganza" entitled It_Happened in Nor d land. This production 
was one of the last clear reflections of the high spot in 
American burlesque attained by the New York Music Hall satires. 
A review of the San Francisco engagement at the Princess The- 
atre appeared in the San Franc isco Nevis Letter for July 4, 
1908. Lew Fields had not accompanied the show on its ViTestern 


"It is absolu.tely undiluted praise that must 
be tendered to It Happe ned in Nordland, and the 
people vrho make possible its gaiety. Glen 
McDonough has built a libretto that abounds in 
witty lines and humorous situations cramraedwith 
the real s-oirit of burlesque. The music of 
Victor Herbert is really entitled to being 
termed 'tunefiil, » for it all has a swing that is 

eta si erfrf r. 

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Burlesque ^^^ 

Jose-fjh ^■Tetiei', also, was to make his contribution to 
this last stcind of "the real spirit of b-urlesquo.'' His pro- 
duction of The nirl f rom Rector's reached San Prancisco in 
Au.^ust 1909. ^'eber and Fields had learned enough vrorlcing 
together to pvirvey the sharpest comedy in the country even 
when going their separate ways. ±.^_e...^^^^l From Rector' s 
opened at the G-a.-'rick Theatre, August 22: 

"Paul Potter v/rote the piece.... He has taken 
as a text for this v;ork a French farce of 
Pierre Veber, entitled L oute , changing the 
locale to ilmericanize it.... The Girl from Re c- 
tor's amused crowded houses every night in New 
Yorlc for a long season at Mr. "'ebor's ovm the- 
atre on Broadway..., Carrie "joberja noted Broad~ 
way sonbrotte is the 'girl' and William Sellery 
has the loading comedy role.... The Pendleton 
Sisters, three pretty dancing-girls, have a 
sensational Y;hirlwind danco that is Introduced 
into the action."* 

The billing of the Klaw and Erlangor production of 
The Ham Tree as a ''now musical vaudeville'' indicated the real 
trend of the tim^s* This first San Prancisco production of 
The Ham Tree opened at the Novolty Theatre in January 1907 
and featured the comedy of Mclntyrc and Hoath, But a new- 
comer, VJ, C. Fields, received most of the oncomiiom in the 


"One of the most delightful hits in Klaw and 
Erlanger's production of The Ham Tree ... is the 
clever work' of '.?. C. Fields, "the tramp Ju.ggler, 
who plays the role of SherlocJc Baffles. 

"He does the funniest tramp juggling act on the 
stage, and introduces his part as azi amateur de- 
tective. He piizzles over^/thing in sight. Mr. 

""" Argonaut , Aureus t 21, 1909. 

Burlesque 306 

Fields excels in comic make-up, and his easy 
manner and laughable pantomime greatly strength- 
ens a most interesting character. .. ,""'"'■ 

The S[>rins of 1908 was dominated hj a double bill 

at the Princess Theatre, a ''musical eccentricity" called 

Little Christophe r, and ''a travesty of New Yori: operatic and 

theatrical life, written by George Hobart and Victor Herbert, 

called The Song Bir ds. ''-"•"' 

"No little credit for its sr^ccess ( The Song 
Bi rds ) belongs to '.7illiam. Btirress, a couiedian 
of" intelligence and finish i;ho impersonates 
Manager Hamraorstein. .. .Oscar Apfol is the 
Conreid of the travesty..,, 

"The competing impresarios proudly call out 
their loading singers, 'the most expensive 
bunch of notes in existence' and if Hammer- 
shine's 'queen of cadenzas,' Madame Tattle- 
talezine sometimes outshines Conried's Emma 
Screams, the Peter Pantson of the Metropolitan 
forces easily drovra.s the baser bass of the 
Manhattan Eddie de Rest-Cure, , . ."•'"■-"-s!- 

Later this same year, the to'^m v/as taken over by 
the reappocirance of Ferris Hartman, "long-time f\xn-raaker in 
chief at the old Tivoli Opera House"-"-"""'-"- in a series of tried 
burlesques including The Jdol's Eye and Ship Aho:;-. "The 
plaudits that filled the crackling atmosphere from the or- 
chestra rail to the congested lobby were a meaty, satisfying 
tribute to his continued popularity."'"""""-^ 

In 1909, the theatrical background for the big mu- 
sical reviews had worn very thin. There were only two in- 
stances of burlesque in San Francisco. Johnnie McVeigh and 

-;5- San Francisco New s Letter, January 12, 1907, 
-;Ht Ibid. April 11, TS08. 

-""::--"- San Francisco N ews Lett er, May 23, 1908. 
•:;--::--::-?^ Argonaut , August 2^ iSUS, 

Burlesque ^^"^ 

his College Girib appeared at the Orpheum in January with a 
featured skit entitled :^^ncMeiT^_Jai_a_Do_rm^^^ In May, 
Piff, F aff, Pouff, a "rollicking musical whimsicality" ap- 
peared at the Princess Theatre. The chorus of Piff, Paff , 
Pouff was the thing. The principals, Fred Mace, James F. 
Stevens, Edv.'in Emery, May Boley, and Zoe Barnett, could be 
dispatched with by such hasty coverage as the Argonaut for 
May 15,1909 applied; "melodiously winning, or statuesquely com- 
ic, or pleasing to the eye, the ear, and the intelligence.'' But 
the chorus loaned much more pivotally ijpon the attention? it 
was not only "larger than over," the handsome costumes were 
not only "the great feature of the show," but, to top every- 
thing, "the chorus was French! ly attractive." This emphasis 
on the supposed penchant of the Gallic people for spicy un- 
dress v;as to set the tone of advertising in American burlesque 
right down to the present day. The Folies Berger e, Tc/hich 
played at the World's Fair on Treas\ire Island in 1939, was 
purveyed to the San Francisco public as an entirely French 
affair. Evidently, the United States is still willing to 
regard itself as a provincial outpost of Europe in matters of 
moral sophistication. 

Wine, Y'Joman and Son g, the musical reviev/ at the 
Savoy Theatre in March 1910, was a composite of all the ele- 
ments which were struggling for dominance in American bur- 
lesque. There was the featured soTibrette, Bonita, who ap- 
peared in "a bewildering array of French gowns, fourteen in 

eiow e 

— r-c^f "''0 '"' 

ao . 

Burlesque 308 

nimiber, and each one a revelation of the modiste's art." •"' 
There was the team of comedians, still reflecting somewhat the 
high tradition established by Weber and Fields; and there 
were Inevitably, and principally, the "pretty show girls." 
Significantly, the first act of the production was called 
"Going into Vaudeville," In this act, some of the brightest 
lights of the legitimate stage were given employ on the two- 
a-day circuit, and it should be noted that these famous peo- 
ple were presented in "lifelike characterizations, "not satir- 
ically'-. The creative criticism of Nev; York Music Hall had 
disappeared in favor of the more mimetic replica -- a com- 
paratively easy art so thoroughly initiated by Harry Dixey in 
his imitation of Sir Henry Irving. 

In 1910, the stars deemed brilliant enough for mir- 
rored reflection included David '"arflold as the Music Master, 
Robert Mantell as Richard III, Mile. Gonee the famous danseuse, 
Enrico Caruso, Blanche Bates, George M, Cohan, Pay T.empleton, 
Maude Adams, Cha-oncey Olcott, and Jan Kubelik. 

The descent to present day, so-called burlesque, 
although already indicated, was not to bo precipitous. The 
gradual, zigzag decline was to include a variety of sta- 
tions. In 1913, Oliver Morosco's "fairyland fantasy," The 
Tlk-Tok Man of Oz , presented in April at the Cort Theatre, 
v/as to revive all the old values of the best nineteenth cen- 
tury extravaganzas. In October 1914, a really thoughtful 

■3?- Argonaut , March 12, 1910. 


-.-f .ber' 

,..^r* .^v. 

"Tcr s""'." s.t' 

•If ;tej;;i'i c 



n .1 '^ r' 'vdo ricia Vo EX 


' /aire. 


Burlesque ^^^ 

travesty by Vfllliara de Mille, called Food, was to open at the 

Orpheun. The Argonaut for November 7, 1914 foimd that Pood 

was a "''sort of high-class burlesque," and then proceeded to 

an interesting resujnes 

"It may be remorabered that the action of this 
piece is sup^oosed to transpire fifty years hence, 
when a mighty food t/rust is developed, and nour- 
ishment is taken, even by the rich in homeopath- 
ic morsols. In spito of the emulous resomblarice 
between the comedy aspects of Food and the pres- 
ent tragedy developed by the J.iropean conflict, 
the audience, only too glad probably to escape 
from gloomy thoughts of war into the cheer of 
vaudeville, surrendered itself to the most ap- 
preciative enjoyment of the hiimor of the piece. 
Handsome stage ap'o ointments, the sumptuoTis cos- 
tume of the eating wife, the uniform of the 
agent of the Food, all are adhered to as 
proscribed by the au,thor, v.ho wishes to indicate 
that fifty years hence the world is deluged 
with wealth and lu;:uj.-y while rviniiing short of 

Without inquiring too closely into the precisj.on of such 
prophesy, it is clear that de Mille »s travesty was one of the 
last throwbacks to an earlier form of trenchant comedy which 
had almost vanished. 

July 1915 fotmd Al Jolson at the Cort Theatre in a 
twelve-scened spectacle called Danc^ing^Around, full of such 
magnificence as "we have come to expect in Winter Garden ex- 
travaganzas. "'"■ The nature of the splendor is indicated by 
the titles of some of the scenes t The Startling Ballet of 
Shadows, The Cubist Carnival, A Night on a Venetian Canal, 
and The Marvelous Danse Eccentrique. The songs of the 

•?s- Argonaut, July 26, 1915. 

■, S-J.''. 

Burlesque ^^^ 

production which Jolson made parlor-piano favorites included 

"Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers," "V.Taen GrovvTi-up 

Ladies Act Like Babies," "I'm Seeking for Siegfried," "I'm 

Glad f.ty V'ife's in Europe," and "The Shuffling Shivaree." In 

1915, it was Eva Tonguay's turn to achieve an ixndistlnguished 

reputation in the outworn, leg-e:cposal tradition of the oarly 

burlesque queens. She was not gifted as a comedienne, nor as 

a singer. 

"You will want to l-cnow if her costumes were 
very daring. Well, they seemed to be largely 
devoted to the deification of the leg. Her 
legs are very pretty, not in the long-limbed, 
classic style, but they are of childishly- 
romided contour ... .As to the costuraosj one was 
a mass of pearl embroideries; another a com- 
bination of African and Oriental bizarreriej 
another a gorgeous corrv\scation of electric 
blue glitter. .. .The 'Salome' travesty hasn-t 
much to it, bv;t I found myself enjoying the 
good burlesque of Charles J. Ross, the impos- 
ing setting, and the thunder and lightning mu- 
sic. v^Tien Eva Tanguaj' appeared, however, her 
sharp, scratchy voice and difficult enunciation 
banished the atmosphere of burlesque. .. .Pre- 
ceding Eva Tang-uay's two acts was a complete 
vaudeville performance."* 

In 1917, the burlesque tradition was split unrecog- 
nizably in several directions. At the Orphoum Theatre in Ifey, 
Jay Gould and Flo Lev>;i3 appeared in a "delightful travesty" 
called Holding the Fort , which the newspapers did not conde- 
scend to review. In October, Gus Edwards' version of the Man- 
hattan musical. The Bandbox Revue, opened at the Orpheum. 

'"■ Argonaut , October 28, 1916. 


awp6oI*Krcf oxict »Viei nl 

Burlesque 311 

Again at the Orpheum, in Decoraber, the first definite bur- 
lesque of the year was presented: 

''Charles 'Vithers and corapany in the four-act 
travesty melodrama. For Pity's Sake , divide the 
headline honors. A traveling theatrical compa- 
ny play good old melodrama in a remodeled barn 
Imovm as Cy Spliven's Opera House, The crafty 
villain, the tearful heroine, and the handsome 
hero are all in evidence and they all deliver 
the 'ancient goods' in such a perfectly serious 
manner that the result is admirable. ''•5^- 

Following the v/ar, there was a general prevalence 
of vatideville in San Francisco until the appearance of Raymond 
Hitchcock's production Kitc hy-K oo 1919 at the Columbia Thea- 
tre in May 1920, A lesser edition of the Follies, it was 
immediately followed by several attempts at ''the big show*' as 
created by Ziegfeld, In July 1920, G, M, Anderson's "revue 
of revues. The Frivo lities^ of 1920" opened at the Columbia. 
In September of the same year Bits and Pieces , a "musical 
revue in which song, dance, and satire travesty six of New 
York's principal theatrical successes, ""''""'' opened at the 
Orpheum. The six successes proved to bo Broalc fast in Bed , 
Mj Lady Friends , East is 'Vest , The Oreenwich Village Follies , 
Scandal , and Tea for Throe . 

Nothing new was happening to burlesque. The trend 
of this theatrical form was by nov/ clearly indicated. The 
decade 1920 to 1930 was to witness the final discard of all 

■"^ Argonaut , December 22, 1917. 
-JK:-lbid. September 25, 1920. 


genuinely satirical elements. The leg-shov; nucleus was fi- 
nally all that was left of the brilliant development which 
had stopped so short with the personal quarrel of the New 
York ?5usic Hall partners. 

The old,run-dov/n theatres in most Araerican cities — 
those former sancturas of le^itiiiiate drama, nov/ off the beaten 
path with the shift of cor.iraerce to other streets— dark, musty 
heaps of rococo polychrome; firetraps lined v.dth threadbare 
red plush s here is the last stand of what is still called the 
"American burlesque.'' Life in the city is enervating. The 
long hours of work, against the noise of coujitless systems, of 
inn-umerable sensations; and, more than anything else, the de- 
humanized distance which has developed between people v;ho are 
not acquainted; the fundamental sense of competitive enmity 
between those people who are alone in those abnormal conges- 
tions of modern life called cities; these are the facts which 
have patterned the nervous system of so many contemporary 
/unericans to receptivity for the completely decadent present- 
day conception of bvu^lesque. 

As often as not, the contemporary American who goes 
to the burlesque show on Saturday night is the uprooted im- 
migrant. He has severed his contact v/ith Europe. As yet, 
he has found no easy adaptation to the crude, emergent Ameri- 
can cultujpe. The strip-tease act provides escape into a 

Burlesque ^^ 

simple internationalism; and the dialogue of the comedy acts 
is so monosyllabic, the gestures so obviously vulgar, that 
communication over language barriers is established. The 
entertainment value of this sort of burlesque is entirely 
untheatrical; to the audience, vdiich is chiefly male, the 
runway display of the chorus and the consequent strip-tease 
of the younger and prettier danseuses, is little more than 
the inspection of a commodity in a commercial boudoir. 

But the art of social satire, the art of clowning 
the errors or hypocrisies of "the great ones" has the strength 
of survival of the masses of people themselves. The Commedia 
dell' Arte tradition is inherent in the very desire of most 
people to better their lives by critically observing and com- 
bating the Immediate obstacle. Most of the time this desire 
has been an indlvldualistlo thing, and the theatre cannot 
reflect Intelligibly the obscure, personal impulse; but the 
gradual breakdown of the contemporary method of social being 
has -unified the impulses of many people. Criticism of the 
pressure, which the social milieu has brought upon most of the 
people, has broken out in sharp. Intelligible proposals for 
change; and the theatre has recommenced its old function of 
vigorous reflection and positive suggestion. 

In 1925 the Theatre Guild of New York City pro- 
duced John Howard Lawson's "Jazz Symphony of American Life" 
entitled Processional . This play v/as the first attempt by a 
present day American playwright to rediscover the abandoned 


Burlesque 314 

thoughtfulneas of satirical comedy. In his preface to the 

printed version of the play the author makes this statement: 

"l have endeavored in the present play, to 
lay the foundations of some sort of native 
teclmlque, to reflect to some extent tho color 
and movoment of the American procossional as 
it stroam.s about us. The rhythm is staccato, 
burlesque carried out by a formalized arrange- 
ment of jazz music.'' 

Unfortunately, a production of Lawson's play has 
never been given in San Francisco. But the present decade has 
not confined the best of its theatre to Manhattan. In August 
1958, the original Now York cast of Pins and Noodles played 
at the Geary Theatre in San Francisco. The production, a 
brilliantly satirical musical revue, had already set sophis- 
ticated Manhattanitos agog. It ^vas called Pins and Need les 
because the cast was made up of members of the Garment V/ork- 
or's Unions — nonprofessionals who had been startled with 
the sell-out success of their show, planned and rehearsed 
after hours as a means of stimulating relaxation from the 
day's work. 

Although styled a musical revue, there were no 
attempts at "beautiful tableaux, ''' no costume build-ups to a 
"knock-out effect," The only concerted statement of the pro- 
duction was the song by the whole company, lined up very 
simply across the stage immediately after the first curtains 

"we're not George M. Cohans or Noel Cowards 
Or Beatrice Llllies or Willie Howards- 
We're plain simple common ordinary 
Everyday men and women 
Who work for a living- ^^ 
We're from the shops."*"' 

-^- Chronicle , August 10, 1938. 

Bvirlosque 315 

Songs by Harold J. Rome were a feature of the show. 
Their music was patterned after the popular, thirty-two 
measure. Tin-pan Alley formula — hut Rome's lyrics lifted 
the melodies to incisive statements, way above the crooning 
morass of lovelorn sentimentality. These songs together 
with a number of sharply conceived blackouts, made up the 

The dramatic critic of the San Francisco Chronicle 

published the following statement August 10, 1938: 

"Everyone will enjoy the show's exuberant jibes 
at fascism, such as the 'Mussolini Handi- 
cap, ' in which Al Eben presents a ferocious Dues 
who violently proscribes 'multiplication for 
the Nation' to Italian Womankind, The 'Poior 
Little x^n,;ols of Peace' skit is a hilarious 
comment on the Berlin-Romo axis, and 'We'd Rath- 
er Be Ri.3ht, ' satirizes gayly,but v;ithout acid- 
ity, the one hundred por cent brand of red-bait-f 
ing Amoricanism." 

More inmiodiatoly was the announcement, August 1939, 
by the San Francisco Theatre Union of its forthcoming produc- 
tion. Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock . Perhaps the 
first definitely successful attempt at an American opera, this 
work has already aroused a storm of pro and con with its New 
York production. Blitzstoin not only composed the music, but 
also wrote the libretto, which accounts a good deal no doubt 
for the fact that here for the first time in the American 
theatre, American idioms of speech have boon genuinely welded 
with American idioms of music in recitatives, A great many 
elements of burlesque enter into this picture of Steoltown, 
a typical industrial tov/n in the United States. Mr. Mister, 

"■i^-^ -?;.'?" ?:.''-* ,r"\Cr.":'^T: •-.•.le^lxsq bbv oleum iJteifT 

oX.Oi.^O'Y.f/C' 003lCn£.jTL fig 3 c : . ■.■".'Tt) sriT 

? X.Ln.: ton nlod-E" y: 

-?0A rfoicfv 

Burlesque ^-^ 

owner of the steelmill, dominates the picture. The other 
characters include, I&'S, Mister, a patroness of the artist 
Dauber and the musician Yasha; Sister and Junior Mister, Mr. 
Mister's bored, apathetic children; Reverend Salvation; Gus 
and Sadie, Polish immigrants; the Moll, a streetwalker; Ella 
Hammer, the wife of a steelworkor; Editor Daily, local news- 
paperman; Larry Foreman, union organizer; a number of college 
professors, a sun-thug, a private detective, a cop, and, very 
centrally, Harry Druggist, a dispossessed businessman who has 
become the town's derelict. Out of such representative ele- 
ments, the work ascends to real pathos, to hilarious satire, 
to profoundly moving climaxes. 

The plumage inflicted on burlesque by the nine- 
teenth-century extravaganza, and only more deeply dyed by 
Ziegfeld and his followers, is at last outworn. The theatre 
is again using a thought-process for its excitement. The 
signposts in the development of satirical comedy from the 
Italian troupes of the sixteenth century to the present day 
are again visible above the debris. And as always, it is 
not the art-form which has begun to think, but the people 
themselves, whose life is the face in the flesh for the theat- 
rical refloction. 





Asbiory, Herbert. The Barbary Coast, An Informal History of 
the San Francisco Underv/orld (New York: A, A. Knopf, 1933) . 

Burnand, Sir Francis C. Records and Reminiscences (London; 
Mathuon and Company, 1903) . 

Cheney, Sheldon. T he Theatre, Three Th ousa nd Years of Drama , 
Acting and Stagecraft" (Tfer; York; Tudor Publishing Co., 

Cibber, Colley. An Apology , for the Life of Colley Gibber, 
comedian, and late patentee of the Theatre-Royal, written 
by himself, (London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1925). 

Dunlap, I'/illlam. History of the American Th e atre (New York; 
1832 ) . 

Hart, Jerome. In Our Second Century (San Francisco; The 
Pioneer Press, 1931). 

Hutton, Laurence. Curiosities of the ABie rican Stage (New 

York; Harper Brothers^ 1891) . 

Isman, Felix. Weber and Fields (New York; Boni and Live- 
right, 1924). 

Lawson, John Howard. Processional (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 

Leavitt, M.B. Fifty Years in Theatrical Management (New York; 
Broadway Publishing Company, 1912) . 

Leman, Walter. Memories of an Old Actor ( San Francisco; A. 
Roman Company, 1886 ) . 

Odell, George C. D. Annals of the New Yor k Stage (New York; 
Columbia University Press, 1927-1939). Vols.I-XI. 

Shakespeare Henry IV , Act II. 

Sharp, William • The Life and Let ters of Joseph Severn (New 
York; C, Scribher's Sons, 189*2)"."'" 

Theatre Research Project, Stephen C. Massett , Joseph A. Rowe 
(San Francisco: 1938). Vol. I. 

*" ."C<5oeX ^YfTsqmoO .beta noirrfd-sM 

eriT ^ooiicfifs^i'!? ra>2 ) •yixrJ ncS bnoo9g n'j'^ -i'rl . . .'jraoT.oI. tS-iBK 
weH) s^ .A eAi It 

■-avhi f:r.':! • I'oF ^.f-f-;"'' -c") zbls'i.'^ bciB- lecie^ .xll6'5 .xt'smtl 

4«xasJio'' EGifi^riT :>£ioY wetl)' iBnoiesr 

.8) ■ ioiD,\ 

r^ - -r. ^» 

■ . ■ . ... ... .0 :3lio . 

.1 '.loV ^ :. nfiS ) 



Theatre Research Project. Lola Montez (San Francisco; 1938) 
Vol. V, 

Theatre Research Project. Minstrelsy (San Francisco-. 1939) 
Vol. XIII. 


Arponaut (San Francisco) Jan, 25, Feb. 9, Mar. 30, Apr. 13, 
S O, Ma y 4, Nov. 2 9, 23, 30, Dec. 28, 1878; Aug. 16, Nov, 8, 
22, Doc. 13, 1879; Au^. 28, 1880; Jan. 1, 1881; Jan. 14, 
1832; Mar. 29, Apr, 5, July 19, Aug. 9, 1884; Jan. 23, 1886; 
Nov. 26, Dec. 24, 1887; Jan. 1, Sept. 17, 24, 1888; Jan. 7, 
Feb. ^^, Nov. 18, 1889; Oct. 5, 1891; Jan. 2, 1893; Dec. 24, 
1894; Apr. 2, Oct, 28, Dec. 10, 16, 1895; Oct. 5, Oct. 28, 
Nov. 9," Dec. 7, 1896; May 17, June 21, Nov. 22, 1897; June 
20, Oct, 24, 1898; Oct. 30, Nov. 6, 1899; Apr. 7,1902;Nov. 
30, 1903; Jan. 11, Aug. 22, 1904; Aug. 28, 1905; ^'^^^S- ?2, 
1908; May 15, Aug. 21, 1909; Mar. 12, 1910; July 5, 12,1913; 
May 9, Nov. 7, 1914; Feb. 20, Mar. 27, July 26, 1915; May 
20, Oct. 28, 1916; Dec. 22, 1917; Sept. 25, 1920. 

Brooklyn Eagle (Brooklyn, N. Y. ) Feb. 8, 1847. Article by 

Walt ''.hitman. 

Bulletin (San Francisco) Fob. 10, Sopt. 17, 1859; Feb. 6,8, 
■ 9. $7," 28, April 5, 6, 12, 13, Doc. 4, 21, 1860; Jan. 10, 
Mar. 6, Apr. 8, 16, 20, 24, 27, June 8, July 5, Aug. 24, 
1861; Hov". 15, 16, 27, 1865; Aug. 6, 7, 16, Sopt. 8, 11, 
Nov. 5, 22, 23, Doc. 1, 11, 24^ 1866; Jan. 7, 18, PQ^. 1, 
Ma--. 1. Apr. 23, May 2, Nov. 25, Dec. 9, 1867; Nov. 17, 
Doc. 4, 1868; Juno 21, 22, July 20, Doc. 8, 1869; Jan.ll,.18, 
24, Fob. 15, May 17, Juno 17, 23, 1870; May 7, 11, Aug. 16, 
17, 1872; Mar. 11, 19, 1873; Aug. 10, 11, 13, 25, Sopt. 1, 
1874; Jan. 2, Nov. 8, 15, 16, 19, 24, Dec. 1, 27, 28, 1875; 
Mar. 28, Apr. 3, 11, Sopt. 5, 6, 19, 20, 21, 1876; Jan. 16, 
Apr. 13, 30, AUg. 13, 14, Doc. 26, 1877; Jan. 22, 30, Feb, 
2b, Mar. 25, Apr. 4, 1878; Doc. 27, 1880; Sept, 18, 1884; 
Jan. 11, Aug. 2; Nov. 22, 1887; Jxily 17, Sopt. 18, Oct. 6, 
23, 1888; Jan. 28, Fob. 12, 1889; Sept. 22, 23, 1890; Feb. 
17, Sept. 29, 1891; Nov. 28, Dec. 3, 5, 1892; Jan. 7, Nov, 25, 
1893;Dec. 18, 27, 1894; May 11, Doc. 10, 1395; Fob, 1, 1896; 
Mar, 13, Doc. 18, 1897; Jan. 7, Feb. 6, 1900; ;.ug, 4, 1917. 

Gall (San Francisco) Feb, 20, 1873. 

Chr-onicle (San Francisco) Oct, 29, 1899; Dec. 23, 1902; Mar. 

— 22, Dec. 1, 1903; Fob, 9, Apr, 5, 18, May 30, Oct. 4, Doc, 

20, 1904; Feb. 6, Dec, 3, 17, 24, 1905; Aug, 10, 1938. 

95C'I .'ooa 

,SI .• 

,0X ^fiiil 

.'•''Z~ (■■ '^A'' 

d . 

■ • »5 ,q6(i_ ,. 

-a) 11-^0 




Daily Alt a California (San Francisco) Feb. 14, 15, 1863; 

— 1^,"27, 1865; Aug. 13, 1865;Mar. 22, 1867;Dec. 3, 4, 1368; 

Jan. 1, 4, 11, 25, Mar. 30, Dec. 26, 1880; May 3, 15, 1881. 

D aily Dramatic Chronicle (San Francisco) Aug, 6, 7, 9, 1866; 
— Mar, 15, 22, 23, Ipr. 16, 17, 20, 25, 29, May 13, 1867. 

Daily Herald (San Francisco) July 1,7, Aug. 11, 1855; July 1856, 

Evening Picayujie (San Francisco) Aug. 30, Nov, 14, 1850, 

Figaro (San Francisco) Aug. 27, 1869; June 27,29,1870; Jan, 4, 
TTISIar. 28, Apr. 1, 2, 6, 7, 1871; Feb. 11, 25, 1879. 

Golden Era (San Francisco) Feb, 6, 1853. 

News Letter (San Francisco) July 17, 24, Aug. 7, 1869; July 
— 2, 23, 1870; Feb, 22, 1873; Feb, 22, 1879; Sept, 25, 1880; 

Jan, 1, Apr, 30, 1881; Apr. 5, 26, June 7, 1884; Sept, 5, 

1885; Jan. 15, Aug. 6, Dec, 10, 31, 1887; Jan, 14, Sept. 

22, 1888; Jan. 19, Feb* 9, 1889; Jan. 12, 1907; Apr. 11, 

May 23, July 4, 1908. 

New York Times Sept. 3, 1866, 

New York Tribune Sept. 17, 1866. 

San Francisco Examiner Oct, 30, 1899. 

Spirit of the Times (New York) May 15, Aug, 21, 1869. 

Theatre (London) Feb. 1, 1882, Article on "The Decline of 

< I- 

i ' y ' - — 

■ '- t ** ^ t ' "" ■ — • ■ ^^ _ 

«x tSi 

■■,^C . . . -^^ 

• » .-_ ,IS ,3j:/A ,3': -.r" (ifaoY well) 5- 



To Dr. James B. Sharp, former State Sixper- 
visor of Research and Records Projects, 
for technical planning on all the volumes 
in this series; and to Miss M. P. Hagan, 
Supervisor of the Division of Profession- 
al and Service Projects for operations 
procedure . 

Among volunteer consultants at libraries 
thanks are due to the following author- 
ities who have lent their assistance to 
this v/ork from the beginning: Mr. Robert 
Rea, Librarian of the San Francisco Pub- 
lic Library, and the following' members 
of his staff J Miss Eleanor J, Struges 
of the Reference Department and Miss 
Jessica M. Fredrlcks of the Music De- 
partment; and to Miss Helen Bruner of the 
Sutro Branch of the State Library. 

For rare and valtiable photographs: Miss 
Jessie L. Hooke and the ¥,. H. de Young 
Museum; Mr, George Poultney, retired ac- 
tor and musical comedy star; Mr, Max 
Dill, formerly of the famous Kolb and 
Dill team; and Mr. Donn Huberty, 

For Invaluable contributions to this 
volume through historical advice and 
critical reading of MSS . — Prof. Frank 
Fenton of San Francisco State College, 
and Dr, Margery Bailey of Stanford Uni- 

Lawrence Estavan 



A bon Ha S3 an, o r Hunt after 

Happiness , " 20 , 21, 22 
Academy of Music (Magu.lre's) 

38, 57, 64, 70, 77, 90, 91 
Acosta, Mile. Caroline, 61 
"Acting Plays" 227 
''Actors in a Quandry, or 

Noisy and Barbarous Amuse- 
ments" (epilogue) 16 
Adams, Maude, 276, 308, Nick, 282 
Adelaide (ballet dancer) 298 
Adelphl (London) 34 
Adelphi Saloon, 30 
Adelphi Theatre, 11, 15, 24, 

26, 29, 186 
Adoni s (burlesque) 217, 218 
Adrienne Lccouvr eur , 145 
African Ballet, a'2 
After Dark, a Tale of L ondon 

Life , 91, '¥3, 94, 95""" 
After Dark Brought to Light 

(burlesque) 95 
Aladdin, Jr ., 238, 245, 290 
Aladdin, or the V/onderful 

Lamp , 244, 248 
Aladdin or the Vifonderful 

Scam p, 143, 154, T^3 
Alcazar Theatre, 214 
Alcazar Theatre Company, 264 
Alhambra Theatre, 38, 91, 

118, 120, 290 
Alhambra I, 94, 95 
Alhambra II, 294 
Alias, Charles (London 

costumier) 243, 259 
All Baba; or Cassim and the 

Forty Thieves , 238, 241," 

242, 243, 248, 2 50 
All Baba Up-to-Date , 245 
Allegory of the Union, An, 69 
Allen, J., 49 
Allen Sisters, 150 
Althea Twins, 281, 283 
Araazons, 229, 232, 236 

Amazons' March, 85, 87, 228 
Amber, Maude, 276,277,281,283 
American Fireman , The , 24 
American Theatre, 25, 28, 50 
American Travesty Stars, 281, 

282, 283 
An Affair of Honor (pantomime) 

Anderson, G. M., 311 
Anderson, Professor, 37, 78 
Androv;s, Miss Lillian, 194 
Anheuser Push, The . 282, 285 
Animatoscope , 292 
A n Inc i de nt in a Dormitory 

Tiki tT 307 
''Annals of the New York 

Stage," 117, 123, 140, 

142, 153 
Ant lope (burlesque) 234 
Anton:/ and Cleopatra , 276 
Apfel, Oscar, 306 
"Arabian Nights" 21 
Architecture of the Jesuits, 

Arline, Miss S,, 195 
A round the V/orld in Eighty 

Days , 209, 221, 222, 223, 

Arrah-na-Pop^ue , 63,64,65,69 
Arrah-no-P o ke, or Arrah of 

Cold _Pomm e de Terre , 64 , 

65, 68,' 69 
A rtists and Models , 303 
Ashcroft, Mr., 95 
As You Like It . 144 
At Gay Coney Island . 251 
Athenaeum, 10, 186 
Atherton, Alice, 173, 179, 

181, 197, 206 
Auber, Daniel Francois 

Esprit, 16 
Auden, W, K. , 8 
Aug, Edna, 283 
Aurelius, Marcus, 33 
Azilla, 239, 240 

KDhAJ^^S.;^ aHTAS?iT 0D!^invlA5I'=I !1A?^ 

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INDEX (Cont.) 


Babes in the Wood , 179, 

T82, 183, 190, 248 
Bab 11 and Bijou, 3 
Backus, Charles, 39, 40, 82 
Backus Minstrels, 63 
Bageard, Jeanette, 258 
Baker farally, 25 
Baker, Lewis, 23, 50 
Baldwin burlesque troupe, 206 
Baldwin stock company, 194 
Baldwin Theatre, 192, 195, 
203, 208, 217, 225, 228, 
240, 244, 2G6, 267 
Balfe, Michael William, 6,15 
Ballet (Contrabandista, 

The ) 104 
Ballet (Cubist Carnival, 

The) 309 
Ballet (Demons' Revels, 

The) 161 
Ballet (Festival of the 

Mandarins) 290 
Ballet (Heartsease) 291 
Ballet (Kiralfy Troupe) 

164, 199, 234 
Ballet (L'Art Nouveau) 291 
Ballet of All Nations, The, 

Ballet of Drinks, 265 
Ballet of Plies, 265 
Ballet of Humpty Du.mpties, 

Ballet of Precious Stones 

and Metals, 265 
Ballet of Shadows, 309 
Ballet (Oriental) 291 
Ballet (The Land of Frost 

and Ice) 291 
Bgjidbox Revue, The , 310 
Bank of California, 131 
"Banks of the Guadalquiver, 

The," 9 
Barbara Fidgety (burlesque) 

275, 278 
Barbara Frietchie , 275 
Barbary Coast, 25, 30, 118, 

Barbour, Charles T., 202 
Barnes, George E., 70 

Bar net t, Zoe, 307 
Barnum, P. T., 16 
Barras, Charles M. , 230 
Barrett, Lawrence, 22, 110, 

113, 172 
Barry, W., 73, 74 
Bates, Blanche, 308 
Bates, Louise, 301 
Bates, Mr., 93 
Battle of Ao;incourt (tableau) 

Battle of Bunker Hill 

(tableau) 157, 164 
B ayadere, The, or The Maid 

of _ Cas hmer e, 4 
Bayes, Nora, 283 
Beauclerc Sisters, 159 
Be auty and the Beast , 248 
"Bea uty a nd t he Brigands , 143 
3o"a uty S ho"^ , The, 282, "284 
Beckett, Tiarry, 123, 125, 126 
Be g;gar ' s Op era , The , 74, 75 
Belasco and Mayor stock 

company, 294 
Bolasco, David, 276 
Bolasco's Theatre, 299 
Bell, Digby, 206, 207 
Bella Union, 9, 19, 20, 30, 

59, 48, 49, 63, 91, 95, 

113, 120, 135, 136,137,212 
Be lle's Stratagem, The , 50 
Belles in the Kitch en," 159 
Bellini, Vincenzo, 2, 112 
"Ben Bolt" 258 
Bergland, Mile., 210 
Bernard, Barney, 82, 275, 

275, 281 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 198, 295 
Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo, 

Bert, Mabel, 210 
Bibb and Bob (Vaudeville 

team) 224 
Big Bertha, 211,212, 215 
Big Bonanza, 131 
Big Four French Folly 

Dancers, 264 
Bijou Company, 203, 206 
Birch, Billy, 51, 58, 82 

( , :ti-ioO ) xaai : 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Birth of Venus (trans- 
forraation) 161 

Bishop, Madame Ann.a, 9 

Bishop, Mr., 160 

Bishop, Mr. A. B., 193 

Bits and Pi eces, 311 

Bl ack CrbokT^e , 78, 79,80, 

~81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86,88, 
90,109, 117, 119, 122, 133, 
140, 142, 144, 146, 147, 
152, 155, 158, 161, 162, 

154, 184, 185, 198, 207, 
209, 211, 223, 230, 247, 
249, 263, 264, 294, 297,303 

Black Cook, The , 82, 90 
Black Crook. Up-to-'Date , 

245, 264 
Black Domino, Th e, 16, 74 
Black-eyed Susan , 54, 154, 

155, 161 

B lack Hook with a Crook 

(satire) 83 
Black Rook, The , 83, 86,87, 

88, 90 
Black Rook v/ith a Crook , 

The, 87 
Blike, Winfield, 276, 277, 

Blitzstein, Marc, 8, 315 
Blow, Lila, 225 
Blue Beard , 190. 248 
"Bogle Man, The" (song) 

240, 241 
Bohemian Club, 148 
Bohemian Girl, The , 4, 6, 15, 

17, 190 
Bohemian Gy-url ('ourlesque) 

Bo ley. May, 307 
Bonehill, Bessie, 261 
Bonfanti, Marie, 117, 118, 

119, 120 
Bonita (soubretta) 307 
Bonjere Salon (Paris) 290 
Bonnay, Mathilde (xylophonist) 

Booth and Ryer, 50 
Booth, Edwin, 24, 26, 27, 

28, 132 

Booth, Junius Brutus Jr., 

26, 50 
Booth, Junius Bmtus Sr., 23 
Booth's Theatre, 116 
Bothwell Browne Goiety Girls, 

291, 292, 293 
Botticelli, Alessandro 

Filipepi, 210, 211 
Boucicault, Dion, 3, 16, 56, 

62, 63, 64, 91, 93 
B oupht and Pgid For , 298 
Bowery (New York) 274 
Bowser (actor) 203 
Box and Cox , 7, 8, 9 
Boyd, Anna, 245 
Brahms, Johannes (composer) 2 17 
Branson, Phil, 249 
B reakfast in Bed , 311 
Sre'jver, Ma£;f!;iG, 49 
Brianza, Sin;nora, 202 
Brigadier Burlesquers, 286 
Briggs, Miss Jennie, 76 
British Blondes, 90, 109, 

116, 122, 123, 124, 129, 

Broadway Gaiety Girls, 289 
Brook , The, 158, 159 
Brooks", Helen, 202 
Brough Brothers, 34 
Brough, Vifilliam, 17, 23 
Brougham, John, 94, 110, 134 
Brown, Harry, 210 
Brownies, The , 290 
Brusie, Judson,231,282, 284 
Buislay Family, 69 
Buislay, Madame Greuet, 103 
Buislay, M. Greuet, 104, 108 
Bunch of Keys, A , 202, 203 
Bunty Pulls the "Strings , 298 
Burnand, Sir Francis Cowley, 

5, 6, 7, 8, 15, 111, 123, 

262, 272, 277 
Burress, William, 306 
Burt (singer) 301 
Burton, 53 
Bush Street Theatre, 126, 159, 

161, 165, 167, 168,170, 190, 

191, 192, 202, 209,230, 231, 


ei. ' 




.*.£3 , 


^i.r ..0. 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Butler, General, 227 
Butterfly on the ^Vheel> A , 

Buy It Dear, It's Made of 

Cashmere (burlesque) 4 
Byron, Henry J., Ill, 112, 

128, 190, 272 
Byron, Lord, 171 
By the Sad Sea Waves , 251, 

252, 290 

Cady, 283, 285 
Cahill, Mr., 126 
California Diamonds , 68 
California Theatre, 3, 96, 
110, 112, 115, 120, 122, 
125, 126, 127, 138, 142, 
147, 159, 161, 162, 182, 
191, 208, 221, 222, 234, 
248, 254, 256, 286, 288, 
Called Back (burlesque) 208 
Camaralzaman and Badoura , 

Camp at the Olympic .The , 51 
Camp at the Union, The , 31 
Canal Boat Pinafore , 

The , 187 
Canfield, 203 
Carleton, Will, 282 
Carmen (burlesque) 258 
Carmencita, Mile., 236,268 
Carroll, Earl, 297, 304 
Carroll (v:histler) 290 
Caruso, Enrico, 308 
Casino, The (New York) 266 
Cassim, 157 
Catherine, 294 
Cats in the Larder 

(burlesque) 20 
Cavalazza, 235 
Celeste, Madame, 75 
Celeste, Madamoiselle Rosa, 

Central Theatre, 290, 291 
Challenger, Bessie, 252 

Challice, Edith, 234 

Chamberlain, Joe, 71 

Chang (Chinese giant) 116,117 

Chaplin, Charles, 176,177,272 

Chapman, Belle, 173 

Chapman, Blanche, 137,142,143 

Chapman, Caroline, 25, 27,28, 

Chapman, Ella, 137, 142, 143, 
144, 173, 179,181,182, 183, 
188, 189, 191,206 
Charles II, or The Merry Mon - 
arch , 9 
Cheeks, Mr., 71 
Cheney, Sheldon, 99 
Cherry and Fair Sta r, 57,182 
Chiarini, Miss, 101, 102 
Chiarini, Mr. 101, 102 
Chicago Opera House, 237 
"Chick-a-dee-dee" (song) 189 
Children of Cyprus , The, 57 
Chilperic , 6, 158, 159 
Chow- Chow, 282 
Christine, Millie, 191 
Christy, George, 6 
Chutes Theatre, The, 292 
Cibber, Colley, 1, 32 
Cinderella, 119, 143,238, 248 
Civil War, 54, 64, 131 
Clarke, Edward, 285 
Clarke, Edwin, 283 
Clarke, Joe, 254 
Clarkson, Miss Louisa, 65, 
Cleopatra-Up-to''Date (musl( 
extravaganza) 292, 293 


vouri-esque; xo 
Coes, George, 95 
Coghlan, Rose, 145 
Cohan, George M. , 308, 314 
Cole, Nellie, 49 
Columbia Theatre, 251, 252, 

253, 311 
Columbus (burlesque) 231 
Colleen Bawn , 56 


KtacO)- xscr,:i 

shj: , 

*X6 , 


INDEX (Cont.) 


Colville Opera Burlesque 
Conpp.ny, 188, 190, 191 
Colville, Samuel, 123 
College Girls (troupe) 306 
Collins, Lottie, 243 
Collins, Mrs. Julia, 17 
Collyer, Dr., 10, 11, 12, 

55, 186 
"Come Back My Honey Boy to 

Me" (song) 277 
Conic strip character, 134 
Commedia Dell' Arte, 96, 
97, 100, 140, 141, 177, 
221, 260, 313 
Commercialized cinema, 297 
Con C'arers, Th e (burlesque) 

271, 273, 275 
Coney Island, 222 
Congreve, V/illiaxi, 32 
Conley, Marie Louise, 290 
Connolly, M. , 123 
Conquerors , The , 270^ 275 
Conrad, the Cor s air (bur- 
ies que")~T78~' 
Conrad and Ivledor_a (bur- 

lesque) 17, 18 
Conreid, 306 

Conroj and Le Ilaire (black- 
face comedians) 300 
Consolidated Virginia Mine, 

Constant, Benjamin (artist) 

Contrabandist, The , 105, 106 
Contrabandista, The (ballet) 

Cooper, Dr«, of London, 12 
Cooper, Fred (comedian) 254 
Corcoran, Misses, 85 
Corinne, 257, 258, 259 
Corinne Extravaganza Comnany, 

Tlie, 258 
Correlli, Blanche, 172 
Corsair, or The Little 
Fairy at the Bottom of 
the Sea , 17. 18. 29 
Corsair, The , 228 
Corsi, Mile., 161 
Corslcan Brothers, 16 

Cort Theatre, 298, 300, 308, 

Court of Spain, 264 
Courtaine, Earry, 29, 41, 42, 

49, 58, 59, 73, 74, 75, 118 
Covent Garden, 123 
Coward, Noel, 314 
Cox, Palm-er, 290 
Coxey's Array, 269 
Coyne, J. S., 15 
Crabtree, Lotta, 62, 96, 152, 

Cradle Y /ill Rock, The . 8,315 
Cramptonj^Mlss Charlotte, 76 
Crane, Mr., 149 
Crav/ford, Berti, 222 
Crawfo2?d, o. C, 282, 284 
Crosbie, Mr. W. , 197 
Crossi ng tl ie Line , 153 
C r o v/ley ,' ' Chi e f , 145 
Crystal Sli-^per. Tlie . 238,239 
Cubist 'Carnival, The, 309 
Cure dance, 153 
''Curiosities of the Am.erican 

Stage" 53 
Curtis, Mr., 160 
Cymbellne , 72 

Dain^erfield, Frederick, 242, 

243, 244, 247 
Dainty Paree Burlesquers, 286 
Daly, Augustin, 93 
Daly, Cl-^arles, 91, 92 
Damon and Pythias , 8 
Damon and Pythias, or The 

Executioners Outv/itted , 20 
Dance of Death , 8 
Dancing Around . 509 
Dare Brothers (vaudeville 

team) 224 
Dashaway Hall, 191 
Davis, Jessie Bartlett, 253 
"Deacon Jones and Seth 

Slope" 9 
Dead Heart, The , 61 
Deady, Judge, 83 
de Angelis, Johnny, 76,78, 95 

('.cJxioC) XSfctll 

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IMDEX (Cont.) 


"Dear Mother, I've Come 

Home to Drinl^" 66 
Deaves, Ada, 141 
Decline of theatrical forms, 

De Courville's London Follies, 

De Koven, Reginald, 250, 253 
Delicate Ground , 138 
Del Monte 'jValtzes (Redding) 

de Maupassant, Guy, 270 
de Mille, V/illiam, 309 
Demons' Revels, The 

(ballet) 161 
Dempsey, Louise, 207 
Denier, Tony, 140,141,156 
Denin, Mrs. Kate, 72, 73, 

74, 75 
"De Pullman Porters' Ball" 

(song) 277 
de Rhone , Mile . , 141 
de Rosa, Mile., 161 
de Seye, Mile., 252 
Deyelopemen t of Natio ns , 

The, 251 ' " 
"Devil and Dr. Paustus, 

The" 45 
Dill, Max, 248, 274, 276, 

281, 294 
Dillon, Ben, 282, 285 
Dixey, Harry, 182, 217, 

218, 219, 220, 221, 254, 

255, 308 
Domino Nolr, or The Mas - 
querade (burlesque) 16 
Don Juan Ad. Lib . , 248 
Don, Lady, 70, 71, 72, 73, 

74, 75, 76 
Don, Sir William, 70 
Donald, James, 156 
Donnelly, T, L. , 153 
Dowling, James, 83 
Dovvn the Line , 282, 285 
Droger, H. C, 145 
Drury Lane, 29, 237,291 
Dumaure, Miss A., 197 
Dunlap, V/llliam, 7 
Dunne and Ryley (comedians) 

Durand, A, C., 49 

Ea st is V/est . 311 

East Lynne , 61 

"Satin" of the Greens, The" 

66, 68 
Edmonds, Mrs. C, 140 
Edouin compsjiy, 198 
Edouin, V/illie, 84, 96, 120, 

121, 173, 179, 181, 182, 

183, 196, 197, 214 
Edwards, Cteorge, 94 
Edwards, Gus, 310 
Edwards, Harry, 84, 93 
Edwin, Sophie, 73 84 
Eissing, Louise, 247 
Electricity for theatre 

lighting, 222 
Elfin Star, The, 76 
Elise Holt Troupe, (see Holt, 

Elise) 110 
Elizabeth , o r The Invisible 

Armanda, 5, 6 
Elliott, Lotta, 186 
Elliott, Maxine, 3 
Ellis, Florence, 173, 177 
Ellsworth, Colonel, 55, 56 
Elmore, Miss Marian, 197 
Elves, The, or the Statue 

Bride , 69, 153 
Erne lie Melville Opera 

Company, 191 
Emerson, Billy, 185, 198 
Emerson, Gertie, 277, 281 
Emerson's Minstrels, 146, 196, 

197, 198 
Emery, Edv/in, 307 
Emperor Norton, 136, 145, 178 
Emperor of Russia, 265 
Empire Theatre (New York) 270 
Enchant ed Isle , 34 
Enchantress, The , 148 
English Blondes, The, 192 
English Pantomime, 238 
"Essence of Old Virginia" 

(dance) 153 
Ethiopian Burlesque Troupe, 28 
Etzeltine Sisters, 186 
Eureka Theatre, 40, 62, 63, 64 
Evangeline , 154, 173, 174, 176, 

177, 179, 184, 210, 224, 225, 

227, 228, 254, 261 
Evangeline Company, 225 

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INDEX (Cont,) 


Evarts, 232 

Everlei£:ii, Kate, 188, 189, 

E xcelsior , 199, 201, 202 
E::cel3lor, Jr », 261, 263 
Exposures In 1927, 303 

Fair One with the Blonde 

Wi^-^, The (burlesque) 149 

150, 151, 152 
Fairy Grotto, 87 
Fanny Major (brig) 27 
Parquhar, George, 32 
Faust and Marguer ite , 45 
Fedora , 208 

Female Fort^r Thieves , 119 
Ferranti Brothers, 154 
Fest, Oscar L. , 249, 25.1 
Festival of the Mandarins, 

The (ballet) 290 
Fiddle Dee Doe , 275,276,278 
Field of the Cloth of Gold , 

The, 114 
Fields, Al, 282 
Fields, Lew, 247, 270, 276, 

282, 304 

Fields, V/. C, 305, 306 
"Fifty Years in Theatrical 

Management" 122, 165 
Fire Corimiissioners, 126 
Fir Oman's March, 89 
Fi rst Born , 276 
FIscher-T^Thcatre, 274,275, 

276, 279, 280, 281, 232, 

283, 285, 289 
Pitch, Clyde, 275 
Fitzsirnmons, Bob (Australian 

boxing kangaroo) 292 
Flick Flock , 117 
Plindt, Miss, 201 
Floradora Sextet, 276 
Fo lios Bergere , 307 
Follies, 280, 296,304, 311 
Food , 309 
"For England, Home and 

Beauty" 6 
For Pity's Sako , 311 

Ford, George, 301 
Forrest, Edv/in, 37, 50, 

70, 84 
Fortoscuo, George K., 225 
Fortunio or Th e S e ven Gifted 

Servants" , 151', 152 
Fort:/- Thieves, The (bur- 

Icsque) 165, 166 
Forty Wi n ks, or a Darky in 

Diffs, "20 
Four "-bittlo Angels of Peace 

(skit) STS"' 
1492 (extravaganza) 260, 

261, 263, 267 
Pox, G. K., 134, 140, 156 
Foy, EJ.die, 238, 239, 240, 

241, 243, 245, 267, 268 
Fra Diavolo , 206 
Franco -Prussian war, 270 
Frei singer, Elise (London 

costumier) 243 
French ballet troupe, 25, 

■ 107 
French Opera, 1 
Friganza, Trixie, 298, 299 
Fritz (comedian) 157 
Friv olities of 1920, 311 
Pulton, Master, 95 
Fun in a Fog (extravaganza) 


Gaiety Girls, 286 

Galton and Jennie Lee Opera 

Bouffe, 146 
Gardner (vaudeville 

actor) 289 
Garibaldi, Giviseppe, 33 
Garrick, David, 32, 276 
Garrick Theatre (New York 

City) 305 
Garrity Sisters, 283 

Gaslight (See Under the 

Ga3ll.ght ) 94 
Gay, John, 75 
Gay Paree in 1928, 303 
Geary Theatre, 314 

nl T 

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INDEX (Cont.) 


Geezer, The, 275 

Geisjia, 275 

Genee, Mile. (danseuse)308 

Genee, Richard, 192 

George V^Tilte's Scandals in 

1956, 303 
Gerin, Nellie, 283 
Gerrish, Sylvia, 195 
Gibhons, the Great, 192 
Gigantic Spectacle, 198 
Gilbert and Sullivan, 132, 

185, 206, 209 
Gilbert, lira., 153 
Gilbert, '?. S., 2, 3 
Gilbert, Yvette, 263, 268 
Gilbert's Melodeon, 152,154 
Girard, 169 
Girard, Oscar, 246 
Girl from Rector's, The , 505 
"Girl With the Kinglets, 

The" (song) 245 
Girofle-Girofla , 191 
Glenn, 147 
Glover, /jnelia, 225 
Goethe, Johann V'folfgang 

von, 45 
Gold Demon, The , 143, 144 
Golden Egg, The , 98,99,105 
Golden, Harry, 177 
Goldilocks , 248 
Good Child's Dream, A. 

(tablea\i) 290 
Go od For Nothing, The , 153 
Goodall, Elizabeth, 301 
"Good-by, Sweetheart" 71 
Goodwin and Company, 90 
Goodwin, J. Cheever, 173 
Goodwin, Nat, 214, 215, 254 
Gordon, Harriet, 39, 41, 

42, 45 
Gougenheim, 194 
Gougenheim, Miss Adelaide, 

23, 137 
Gougenheiin, Miss Joey, 

23, 137 
Gougenheim Sisters, 30,90 
Gould, Jay, 310 
Graham, 161,191,288 
Graham and Reed, 188, 189 

Grainger, Miss, 139 

Grand Opera House, 156, 159, 

177, 207, 230, 241, 247, 254, 

261, 231, 290, 291, 292, 293 
Granville, Gertie, 158 
Grattan, Miss Emma, 29 
Gray, 288 
Green, Marie, 289 
Green Monster, The (pantomime) 

98, 101, 104 
Green Sisters, 289 
Greene, Clay M. , 47,145,146 
Greenwich Village Follies , 

303, 311 
Grimaldi, Joseph, 168, 170, 

171, 177, 213, 260 

Gruet, Mons., 89 
Guinan, Texas, 298, 299, 
302, 303 

Haitian voodooism, 16 

Hall, A. Oakly, 140 

Hall, Charles P., 248, 286 

Hall, Edith, 249 

Hall, Jolin, 127, 128 

Hamilton, Laura, 301 

Hamlet , 27, 40, 120, 159 

Hamlet, Prince of Oakland , 148 

Hammers tein (Manager) 306 

Hamsetzee Bumgetzee , 197 

Ham Tree, The , 305 

Hare, Ernest, 301 

Harland, Ada, 123, 125, 127 

Harlow, Richard, 262 

Harrigan, Edward, 216 

Harrison, Alice, 140, 164, 

179, 180, 216, 222 
Harrison, Lewis, 173, 182 
Hart, Jerome, 144 
Hart, Tony, 252 
Hartman, Ferris, 249,253,306 
Harvey, Clarence, 298, 301 
Haverly, Colonel Jack, 198 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 219 
Hayes Park, 75 
Hayne, Mrs, Julia Dean, 28, 57 



BH -,i 

?3 ,8. 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Hazel Kirke , 203 
Hazlltt, William, 5 
Heartburn, Sarah (biir- 

lesque of Sarah Bernhardt) 

Heiback, Mile., 210 
Held, Anna, 268, 276 
Heller, Robert, 77, 78 
Helter Skelter , 275 
Henderson company, 238, 248 
Henderson, David (impresario) 

237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 

242, 244, 245, 246, 247, 

253, 259, 261, 301 
Henderson (singer and 

dancer) 292 
Hendrick Hudson, Jr . , 258, 

Henry IV , 2 
Henry V , 157 
Herbert , Victor, 250, 304, 


Herberte, Henri, 87 
Hermann's cannon act, 191 
Hermsen, Prank, 277 
Herve'', Aime' Mario Edouard,5 
Hiawatha, 179, 180, 181 
Hickman, Pearl, 283 
Hickory Dickory Dock , 107 
Hidden Hand, The , 50 
Hlrschfeld, Max, 250 
"History of the American 

Theatre" 7 
Hitchcock, Raymond, 311 
Hitchy-Koo 1919 , 311 
Hobart, C-oorge, 306 
Hoffman, Gertrude, 298 
Hoity-Toity , 275, 276, 281 
Holding tho Fort , 310 
Holland, E, C, 18 
Holt, Eliso, 90, 96, 109, 

110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 

115, 116, 119, 124 
"Holy City, The" (song) 290 
"Home Svireet Home" 18 
Hope, Flossie, 277, 281,283 
Hopper, Do Wolfe, 277 
Horn, Eph. (minstrel star) 

17, 26 

Horrors , 196, 197 
"How I Love My Lu" (song) 277 
Howard and Howard, 298 
Howard, Eugene, 300, 301,303 
Howard, Willie, 299, 300, 

301, 303, 314 
Howson, Clelia, 89 
Hows on family, 105 
Howson, Misses, 87 
Howson, Mr,, 86, 87 
Howson Opera Troupe, 103 
Hughes, J. J., 298 
Hull, Caroline, 283 
Humpty Dumpty , 131, 134, 140, 

141, 170, 290 
Humpty Dumpty Reconstructed , 

Humpty Dumpty Up-to-Date ,265 
Hunt after Happiness, 22 
Hurly Sur ly, ' S7fe, SV8 
Hussy, Frank, 58 
Hut ton, Laurence, 53 

Ibsen, Honrik, 133 
Ideal Pinafore, The , 191 
"I Didn't Think He'd Do It, 

but He Did" (song) 245 
Idol's Eye, The , 306 

I Gelosi troupe, 97 
Ignacio, Le Petit, 104 
Ignacio, Master Albert, 104 
111 Treated II Trovatore, 

II Trovatore , 22, 40 
'*i'm a Respectable V/orkln' 

Girl" (song) 277 
"I'm Glad My Wife's in 

Europe" (song) 310 
Imitation of Madame Anna 

Bishop, 9 
"I'm Seeking for Siegfried" 

(song) 310 
"I'm up-to-date,...! ride a 

V/heel" (song) 263 
Incantation Scene, 85 
In Gay New York , 267, 268 
"In Our Second Century," 144 


INDEX (Cont.) 


International Hotel, 102 
"Into the Water We Go'' 180 
I nvestigatio n (bxirlesque) 
~216, 217 

Invisible Prince, The , 29 
I.O,U . (burlesque) -dal, 

§82, 283, 284, 285 
Irish ani;;rant, or Temp - 
tation vs. Kiches, 2 
Irinler, Martha", 240, 241, 

Iron Chest, T he, 24 
Iroquois i'heatre (Chicago) 

Irving, Sir Henry, 218, 219, 

220, 223, 255, 308 
Irving, "Washington, 9 
Irv;in, Miss May, 188, 253 
"I'se Found yo Honey" (song) 

Island of Zenobar, The , 249 
Isman, Fe lix, 275 
Italian Brigan ds (illuminated 

tableavLx) 106 
Italian grand opera, 25 
It H appened in Hordlan d, 304 
"I WonH Go, Sir" 66 
Ixion, or The Man at the 
~WeeTr~Tlor 119, "123, 139, 

142', ""146, 154, 165, 193, 

I xion Re-wheeled (burlesque) 
■~l94, 19S 

J ack and Jill , 98, 103, 
— I5fe, 167, 158 
Jack and the Beansta lk, 248 
Jackson, Harry, 7b, b4 
Jackson, T'/Irs. Harry, 74 
Jacobson, Pauline, 49 
Jacotte, Howard, 282, 285 
"Japanese Baby" (song) 252 
Japanese juggler troupes, 

37, 77, 90 
Jefferson, Joseph, 115, 117 
"Jennie who lives on the 

Hill" (song) 180 

Jenny Lind Theatre, 2 
Jenny Lind Theatre III, 13 
Jo cko, or the Brazilian _A ;pe 

(pantomimel 101, 105 
Johnson, Lee, 282 
Jolly Girls Extravaganza 

Company, 289 
Jolly Grass Widows, 286 
Jolson, iil, 214, 309, 310 
Josephine, o r The Fortune s 

oTjiar, ""2*^ 
Joyce, Laujr'a, 207 
Judah, Mrs., 84, 153 
Juiibo Jim, 2 
Juvenile troupes, 292 

ICatio the Vivandiere , 108 

Kean, Charles, 32, 57, 39, 
40, 45, 63 

Kean, ?Jrs, Charles, 63 

Keats, John, 5 

Kellar Zouave Girls, 288 

Kemble, Charles, 32 

Ke nilworth , 71, 72, 73, 138, 
139, 1'58, 159, 192 

Kennedy, Mr., 149 

Kenny and Hollis, 289 

Kentuckjr Belles, 286 

Ketchum, u. F., 125 

Kilyani, Herr, 261 

Kimball, Jennie C, 258 

Kimball Opera Comique and 
Burlesque Co., 257 

King Blear (burlesque) 59 

King Cau cus, or The Senato - 
rial fuddle , 60 

King Charles, 300 

King Dodo , 248 

King, Prank, 247 

King Lear . 28, 59 

King, Mazie (toe dancer) 301 

Kins,IIollie, 300 

Kingsbury, Alice, 76, 77 

Kiralfy, Bolossy, 164, 222, 

223, 234, 236, 264 
Kiralfy spectacles, 

■'..i-'v :• t " 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Kiralfy Troupe (ballet) 

164, 199, 234 
Kismet, 298 
"Kiss Me, Honey, Do" (song) 

"Kiss some more Ladies, 

Kiss some more" 66 
Klaw and 3rlanger pro- 
duction, 291, 305 
Itoight, George, 173, 176, 

177, 178, 225, 227 
Knowles, James Sheridan, 9 
Kolb and Dill, 248, 275,294 
Kolb, Dill, and Bernard 

combination, 281, 282 
Kolb, William, 248, 274, 

276, 281 
Kosloff, Alexis, 301 
ICruger, Jacques, 197 
Kubelik, Jan, 308 

La Blonde Dormant e, 145, 146 

Lacey Uuthor) 227 

La Figlia del Regft;imento , 4 

La Gazza Ladra , 20 

Lalla Rookh (burlesque and 

pantomime) 23, 30, 248 
Langrishe, 147 
La Poupee ,. 276 
lla kenomimee (ballet) 201 
La Sonnambula , 4, 126 
Laura Keene 1'heatre ( New 

York) 55^ 153 
La Vivandiere or True to 

tho Corps (burlesque) 

4, 106 
Lawson, John Howard, 313, 

Leach, Mr», 87 
Leary, Thomas C, 264 
Leavitt, M. B., 122, 165, 

166, 157, 186, 187,228, 

229, 259 
Leavitt 's Polly and Bur- 
lesque Company, 228 
Le Clair, Harry, 185 
Lecocq, Alexandre Charles, 250 

Le Diable a Quatre , 102, 105 

Le e , Aiiianda, 49 

Lee, Marian, 49 

Lee, Mile., 210 

Lee, Vailiam, 49 

Le Grande, Mile,, 192 

Lehman, Andrew (artist) 86, 

101, 104 
Lehman, Madame, 103, 104 
Lehman, M. August, 104 
Lehman, Mile. Julie, 103, 108 
Le Malre (blackface comedian) 

Leman, Walter, 29, 41, 44, 45, 

46, 55, 56, 59, 60 
Lenton Acrobats, 151, 152 
Leslie, Harry, 90 
Lewis Catherine, 173, 177,178 
Lewis, Flo., 310 
Lichtor, Anna, 249 
"Life and Letters of Joseph 

Severn, The" 5 
Lillie, Beatrice, 314 
Lilliputians, the, 192, 265, 

Lincoln, Abraham, 54, 64 
Lind, Jenny, 62 
Lingards, the, 124 
Little Amy Robs art , 192 
Little 3o<-Peep , 248 
Little Boy Blue (extravaganza) 

Little Christopher , 306 
Little Don Giovanni , 143 
Little Jack Sheppard , 214, 

215, 216 
Little Minister, The , 276 
Little Red Ridingllood , 248 
Little Robinson Crusoe , 248 
Little Tycoon, The , 230 
Living Art Pictures , 186 
Living Pictures , 261 
L'oder, George, 26 
Logan, Olive (reformer) 111, 

112, 127, 129 
Lola Monte z on the Fanny 

Major , "S5~^ 
Lola Montez, or a Countess for 

an Hour (burlesque) it 

-!£■ ■ , tf • 

CC3K-- , ■. 


T .J 


•.•<^ ft;)"']-'? 



INDEX (Cont.) 


Lone Fisherman, The , 131, 

134, 227 
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 

Lottery of Life , 93 
"Louisiana Lou" 258 
Louto (French farce) 305 
"Love Not" 6 

Luclcy Stone, A , 282, 283 
Lucrezia Borgia, or The 

Grand l)octress, 110, 111, 

114, 156 

Luna, or the Little Boy \^o 

Cried for the Moon , 123 
Lyceum Theatre, _30, 48, 50 
Lydia Thompson i^nglish Bur- 
lesque Company, 228 
Lydia Thompson Troupe, 121, 

122, 123, 125, 126, 127, 

Lynch, Nellie, 283 
Lyric Theatre, 276 
Lyster, Fred, 194, 195 

Mabbot, Joe, 49 

Mabel Santley's London Bur- 
lesque Troupe, 165 

"Ma Blushin* Rose" (song) 

Macbe th, 16, 26 

Mace, l^red, 307 

Macfarren, Sir George 
Alexander, 6 

Mack, Johnny, 94,95,96,107 

Macready, I'^illiam Charles, 


Magic Pills, The ( "oantomime ) 

Magic Slipper, The , 188,189, 

Maguire's Blondes, 127 
Maguire's California Min- 
strels, 148 
Maguire's company, 149 
Maguire's New Minstrel 

Troupe, 58 
Maguire's New Theatre, 146, 
148, 151 

Maguire's Opera House, 17, 18, 
23, 24, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 
41, 44, 45, 46, 56, 57, 58, 
60, 61, 63, 64, 70, 72, 74, 
75, 76, 77, 78, 82, 83, 86, 
91, 95, 96, 103, 107, 117, 
119, 122, 123, 124, 126,127 
Maguire, Tom, 24, 25, 26, 28, 
29, 38, 41, 54, 55, 56, 57, 
58, 61, 62, 63, S4, 69, 70, 
71, 73, 74, 78, 82, 83, 84, 
86, 87, 90, 96, 120, 121, 
122, 125, 126, 161 
Mandeville, Miss Alicia, 58 
Mandeville, Miss Jennie, 58 
Manfred , 4 

Lkn-Fre ' d (burlesque) 4 
Manhattan musical review, 297 
Manhattan, the, 276 
Mansfield, Richard, 271 
Mantell, Robert, 308 
"March of the Amazons" 161 
"March of the Sixty-ninth" 

(music) 155 
Marion, Miss, 142 
Markliam, Pauline, 123, 126, 

127, 128, 233 
Mar low, James, 186 
Marlowe, Christopher, 45 
Married a nd Burie d, 20 
Married B "aclie lor, The , 286 
Marriott,' Edv/ard, 115 
"Marseillair-e Plyim" 36 
Marsh, Cfeorge (Guerineau) 53 
Marsh, Howard, 301 
Marsh Juvenile Comedians, 52,53 
Marsh, Louise (Miss McLaughlin) 

Marsh, Mary (Guerineau) 53 
Marshall, Jack, 289 
Martell, Ellie, 49 
Martinetti brothor^s, 101 
Martinetti, Desiree, 97, 102, 

Martinetti, Julien, 97, 98, 101, 

102, 103, 104, 105, 106 
Martinetti, Madame Julie, 103 
Martinetti, Paul, 87, 97, 101, 
102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 


INDEX (Cont.) 


Martlnetti Pavilion, 103 
Martlnotti, Philippe, 97, 

102, 103, 104, 106 
Martinettl-Ravel Pantomlm- 

ist, 38, 39, 54, 69, 76, 
77, 83, 140, 260 
Martinettl-Ravel Troupe, 

103, 107, 265, 291 
Martlnettis, The, 83, 87, 

90, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 

102, 103, 104, 105, 105, 

107, 108, 118, 141, 142, 

Martinet, Sadie, 263 
Marvelous Bard (slack-wire 

performer) 288 
Marvelous Danse Eccentri- 

que. The, 309 
Marzetti, Madame, 103, 104, 

Masaniello (burlesque) 116 
Mason, Edith, 247 
Masonic benefit, 78 
Mas sett, Stephen C, 8, 9 
Massey, Rose, 122, 123, 124, 

126, 127, 129, 194 
Mastodon Minstrels, 198 
Mathew, Charles, 78 
Mathew, Desiree, 103 
Mathieu, Madame, 104 
Matlldita (Spanish dancer) 

Matthews and Bulger company, 

248, 251, 252, 253, 290 
Maudit family, 11 
Mayer (see Belasco and 

Mayer) 294 
Mayhew, Katie, 149, 150, 159 
Mazeppa , 62, 76, 213 
Mazulm , 106 
Mazuma, Miss, 282 
McCabe, John H., 49 
"McCabe's Journal" 24 
McGullough, John, 75, 110, 

113, 125, 126 
LIcDonough, Glen, 304 
McHenry, Miss, 172 
Mclntyre and Heath, 305 
McVeigh, Johnnie, 306 

Mechanic's Pavilion II, 63 
Medea, or The Best of Mothers, 

■~ss ^ 

Mehlinger, Artie, 301 
Melodeon burlesque, 132, 136 
Melrose troupe (acrobats) 289 
Melville, Emelie, 94, 191 
Melvin Brothers (gymnasts) 288 
"Elemorles of an Old Actor" 

29, 60 
"Mendelssohn March" 253 
Menken, Adah Isaacs, 39, 62, 

Meredith, Owen, 180 
"Mermaid, The" 6 
Merry Zingara, The, or The 

T^ipsy Cripsy ~and The Pipsy 

Vi^ipsy (bvjlesquej 4 
Morvillo, Miss Lena, 197,203 
Mestayor, I-Ir. V.r. A., 160,173, 

179, 180, 222 
Meta Morra, or The Last of 

the Pollywogs , 5D '~ 
Metropolitan I,' 25, 28, 29 
Metropolitan 11,38, 39, 56, 

57, 64, 76, 77, 82, 83, 

86, 88, 90, 91, 93, 95, 

98, 99, 104, 108, 139, 

141, 142, 143, 144 
Mikado, Th e, 209, 230 
Miles, Mis's Emma, 85 

Miller, Marilyn, 301 

Mlml Midget. 157 

"Minstrelsy" 16, 39 

Minstrelsy's last stand, 198 

Miss McGinty, 256 

Mistake of a Life, The , 61 

Mitchell, Julian, 279, 280, 

293, 297 
Mitchell, Mike (minstrel)26 
Model Artists, 11, 12, 186 
Modjeska, Helene, 145 
Moffett, Jas, M., 254 
Moffett, James S,, 225, 227 
Moll ere, 96 
Mo ns« Dechalamoau ( p ant o - 

mime ) 105 
Montague, Louise, 225, 226, 

238, 259 

■:"^^li ^oux v-"i citimt' 

tV0iiv T .«f r '»'iH*2«;*rt •?' V x«- 

c ,^^u- 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Monte Oris to, Jr . (burlesque) 

Montez, Lola, 12, 14, 15, 
24, 25, 27, 28 

Moon and Morris, 298 
Moore, Maggie, 141 
Moore, Thomas, 23 
Morgan, Matt, 186 
Mormons, The , 282 
Morosco, Oliver, 308 
Morris, Edward, 225 
Morton, Dorothy, 283 
Morton, John Madison, 8 
Mother Goose , 28, 108, 151, 
— 155, 168, ' 169, 170, 171, 

206, 248, 291 
Mott, Dr. Valentine, 12 
Much Ado About a Merchant 

of Venice , 110 ' 
Mulle, Emma", 207 
Mulle, Ida, 204, 205, 207 

208, 238, 239, 240, 241, 

Murdock, Daisy, 206 
Murdoch, James S,, 25 
Murphy, J. J., 145 
Mixrphy, Joe, 51, 78 
Music Box Revue. The (1929) 

Music Hall (New York) 271 

272, 275, 279, 281, 284, 

285, 287, 299, 304, 308, 

Music Master, The, 308 
"Mussolini Handicap" 

(song) 315 
Myers, Annie, 249 
My Lady Friends , 311 

Nan, the Good for Nothing , 8 
Nash, Marlette, 203 
Nellson, Adelaide, 144, 193 
Nero, 32 

Nethcrsole, Olga, 278, 279 
Nowham, Rose, 232 
Niblo's Garden (New York 
City) 78, 80, 82,103, 117 

Night on a Venetian Canal , 

A, 309 
Nineteen Seventy-one, 1971 , 

135, 136 
Norma , 2, 4 
Norman, Henry, 240, 241, 243, 

245, 301 
Normer, Mrs , (burlesque) 4 
North, Bobby, 283, 285 
Norton the First (burlesque) 57 
Novelty Theatre, 305 

Gates, Mrs. Jas,, 149 
O'Brien, Frank, 283 
Occidental Hotel, 71 
Odell, George CD., 117, 123, 

140, 142, 153 
Offenbach, Jacques, 112, 146, 

203, 204, 208, 222, 250 
Officer 666 , 298 
oh. Hus H, or T he Virginia 

Cupids , 17 
Olcott, Chaujicey, 308 
"Old King Crow" 16 
Oliver Twist , 298 
Olyiiir^ic Company, 76 
Olympic Theatre, 39, 76, 78, 

83, 87, 83, 90. 91, 93 
Olympic Theatre I New York 

City) 140 
Olympic Theatre (St. Louis) 

O'Neill, J. H., 49 
Onger Sisters (vaudeville 

team) 224 
Oofty Goofty, 212, 213 
Opera House (see Maguire's 

Opera House) 
"0, Promise Me'' (song by Do- 

Xoven) 253 
O'Ramcy, Georgia, 283 
Orphoo aux Snfors (opera- 

iDouffe) 203 
Orphcum Theatre, 273, 307, 

310, 311 
Orpheus and Eurydice , 74, 203, 

206, 208 

, ifJt. , , 

.BV ,. 

■■•■ i'- 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Orpheus in Hades , 248 
Osbourne, Howell, 226, 255, 

Othello , 27, 48 
"Other Side of Jordan, The" 

Our Politics , 158, 159, 

160, 161 
Out to Nurse , 153 
Owen, Lillian, 202 
Oxygen , 189, 190 

Pacific Melodeon, 120 

Palladlno, Mile., 161 

Pantomime, 199 

Pardey, George, 65 

Paris , 138 

Paris, Mlle.^ 235, 236,237 

Parker, Miss, 87 

Pas de Fascinatio n; Lola 

Montez, or a Cou nt es s _f or 
an Hour (burlesque^ 1.3, T5 

Passing Show, The , 265, 272, 

Passin g Show of 1912, The , 

— 295 sy^ " 

Passing Show of 1913, The , 

Passing Show of 1924, The , 

Passing Show of 1925, The, 

Pastor, Tony, 187 
Patchwork , 158, 159, 171 
Patience , 230 
Patti, Adelina, 189 
Paul, Master (see Martinetti) 

101, 102 
Pavlov, 209 
Payne, John Howard, 9 
Peachoy, John, 283 
Pendleton Sisters, The, 305 
Penelope (burlesque) 231 
Pepper Box Revuo , The, 305 
Perkins, Annie, 225 
Perry, H. A., 50 
Philadelphia Minstrels, 9 

Pierce, Abbie, 195 
Piff-Paff , 190 
^ iff, Paff, Pouff , 307 
Pinafore, ^32, 187, 188, 231 
Pins and Needles (satirical 

rrtasical revue) 514 
Pirates of Penzance, Th e, 192 
Plaisted, Grace, 164'," 195, 249 
Planche, James Robinson, 2, 5, 

15, 31, 33, 277 
Players' Club (New York) 132 
Pleasant Company, 66 
Pluto , 143 
Pluto and Proserpine , 40, 41, 

Pocahonta s (burlesque) 202 

Pocahontas and Columbv.s , 110 

Political satire, 134 

"Polka Quadrille"' (duet) 16 

Pope, Alexander, 1 

Portsmouth Square, 8 

Potter, Paul M., 270, 305 

Pousse Cafe , 275 

Power of the trusts and 
monopolies, 134 

Powers, Leslie, 301 

Powers, Mr., 197 

"Pretty as a Picture" (song) 

Pretty Druidess, The , 2 

Price, Georgie, 303 

Prince of Wales, 241 

Prince of Wales Theatre 
(Liverpool) 123 

Princess Pan Tan (musical ex- 
travaganza) 292 

Princess Theatre, 304, 306, 

Princess Theatre (London) 45 

Princess Trixie (educated 
horse) 292 

Processional , 313 

Proctors, the, 25 
"Provident I\Lid Lark, The" 94 

Pygmalion , 119, 139 

Oualitz, Praulcin Clara, 239 
'^ 240, 241 





INDEX (Cont.) 


Queen Elizabeth (burlesque) 

See Kenllwoi-th , 71 
Queen's Theatre, 123 
Quo Vadls , 275 
Quo Vass'lss? 275, 278 

Raffael, John J., 249 
Ragtime, Beginnings of, 251 
Rand, Miss Olivia, 84, 95 
Raphael, 210, 211 
Rattler, Lew, 76, 95 
Ravel, Charles, 230 
Ravel Family (Pantomimists) 

97, 99, 100, 104, 107, 

140, 260, 265 (see 

Ravel, Gabriel, 100 
Raynor, Harry, 90 
"Records and Reminiscenoes'' 5 
Red Gnome, The , 98, 101, 142 
Redding, Joseph D., 205 
Reed, Annie, 156, 157 
Reed, Charles, 185, 191, 208, 

214, 215, 216 
Regnault, Henri, 223 
Renascence of political 

satire, 135 
Rentz's Female Minstrels, 

Madame, 165, 167, 185 
Rentz-Santley (combination) 

167, 158, 199, 239 
R eturn o f Peter Grimi'ii , 298 
Revels, or Bon Ton George 

"Wr, 17S, 183, la? 

Rhine Daughters , The , 

Riccoboni comp any [ It 

troupe) 99 
Rice, Cady and Bobby 

(team) 282, 285 
Rico's company, 228 
Rice, Edward "Everlasting 
171, 172, 173, 175, 
178, 179, 180, 181, 
184, 210, 217, 218, 
225, 226, 248, 260, 
262, 263, 267 






Rico's Surprise Party 

(trou-oe) 184, 183 
Richard III , 26, 308 
Richard Yo Third (burlesque) 


Richelieu , 50 
Richings, Caroline, 62 
Richings, Peter, 62 
Risloy, Professor, 27 
Roberts Company, Wick, 

17 17 1 
"Robin Toll Kitty" (song) 158 
Rob inson Cr usoe, 179, 131, 
— IBS, 159, 'T:^, 191, 197, 

231, 232, 245 
Robinson, Doc, 25 
Robinson, Miss Sue, 107, 108 
Rocho, Augusta, 204 
"Roclcy Road to Du.blin" (song)6 
Rogers,, 136 
Roly-Poly , 282 
Rome, Hov/ard J,, 315 
Romoo and Juliet, 27, 44, 

^13, 217 
R oof Scrambler, The , 4 
Roseau, ii;re, 18b, 189, 191 
"Rosic, You are My Posle" 

(song) 277 
Ross (singor and dancer) 292 
Ross, Charles J., 298, 310 
Ross, Charley, 294 
Rovjo's Olympic Circus, 9 
Royal Midd.y, The, 192 
Royal OlympicT Theatre of 

London, The, 31 
Royal Prussian Band, 157 
Royce, Louise, 243, 249 
Rozinos, 289 
Russell (London costuraor) 

Russell, Helen, 283 
Russell, Lillian, 276, 277 
Russell, Miss, 197, 294 
Russell, Sol, Smith, 173, 176, 

177, 178, 179 
Rycr, George, 50 
Hyor-Bakor-Booth company, 51 

■ »►■'- 1" ' 


INDEX (Cont.) 


Sable Harmonists, The, 24 
Sailor's Dream, The 

(tableau) l54 
Sale, Chic, 303, 304 
Salinger, Tillle, 249 
Salsbury Tro-ubadotirs, 159, 

171, 172 
Samuels, Leon, 95 
Sands (dancer) 95 
San Francisco Hall (Magulre's) 

San Francisco Minstrels, 16, 

17, 25, 26, 38, 62, 64, 

82, 129 
San Francisco Theatre, 24, 25 
San Francisco Theatre 

Union, 315 
Sangalli, Rita, 117, 118, 

119, 120 
Santley's London Burlesque 

Troupe (Mabel) 165 
Santley's troupe, 186, 187 
Sappho , 278, 279 
Sarah Heartburn (burlesque) 

Saunders, Miss Emily (lady 

Don) 70 
Saimders, Ifrs,, 92, 202 
Savoy collaboration, 132 
Savoy Theatre, 307 
Scandals , 304, 311 
Scaramouche, 98 
SchGller, Ifedame, 118 
Schmidt, Madame Therbse,103 
Schultz, Charloy, 39, 104 
Schuman, Mile,, 150 
Scribe, Bugono, 7 
Seabury, 161 
Searlo, Loiiiso (singer) 

180, 182 
Sellcry, V/illiam, 305 
Sonnet t. Mack, 272 
Sontinel, The , 9 
Setchall, 65, 68 
Soven Ages, The , 254 
Seven Sisters, The (patri- 

otic play) 54, o5, 56, 

57, 69, 70 

Severn, Joseph, 5 
Seymour, V'illiam, 160 
Shakespeare, 34, 36, 39, 

50, 63, 112, 132, 144 
Shakespearean Festival, 

Grand, 26 
Sharp, V/illiam, 5 
Sheep's Foot, The, 69, 84 
Sheridan, Richard Br ins ley 

( p 1 ay \'7r i i'^ht ) 171 
Sh ip Ahoy (burlesque) 306 
■^"Shout for our Banner" 68 
"Shuffling Shivaree, The" 

(song) 310 
Siddons, Sarah, 32 
Si ege of the Blondes, The , 

or ' T i 3 "'S^;'/e e t~ f or "^ur 

Count r ; ; . r to D:>''e~ 129 
Siegri'st, Miss Rosa, 85 
Sigel, 56 

Slrnms, Mr, and Mrs,, 40,41 
Slrmns, Willie, 195 
Simonds, Mrs., 40 
Sinbad (extravaganza) 238, 

S4U7 241, 243, 246, 247 
Sinclair, Mrs. Catherine, 

25, 26 
Sinclair, E. T., 140 
Sinclair, Fir. H., 73, 84 
Singer, Marian, 149 
''Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts 

for Soldiers" (songTsiO 
Six Deg3rees of Crime , 50 
Slave of Lo ve, The , 119, 120 
Sloan, J. M., 141, 156 
Smith, Sdgar, 277 
Smith, John (minstrel 

star) 26 
Smith, Mamie, 303 
Social scale in San Fran- 
cisco entertainment, 267 
Soldiers for Love, 106 
Song Birds, Tho7 ~506 
Sousa, John Philip, 250 
Spice of 1922, The , 303 
"Spider Dance" 24 
Spider a nd The Fly, The , 

2^5, 2^ ^^ 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Spring Song (aquatic 
episode) 298 

Springer and V/elby's Mew 

York Company, 264 
Stacy, A. L., 141 
Stadernian, C, 49 
"Stage Reriilniscences'' 153 
Stage Struck , 58 
Standard Theatre (Bush St.) 

185, 186, 194, 196, 198, 

202, 208 
Stark, James, 1, 23, 28 
Stark, Mrs. James, 2, 28 
Starr, Miss, 197 
Stetson, I.lrs,, 142 
Stevens, Edwin, 249 
Stevens, James F., 307 
Stevenson, Colonel J. D., 7 
Stock\'irell's Theatre, 264 
Stoller, Mildred, 289 
Strand Theatre (London) 

72, 123 
Strange Adv entu res of Jack 

aiid Jill, ~TFe , ""SIB' ~ 
'•stranger, The" 8 
Straub, Marie, 292 
strip-tease, 299, 312 
Strolling Actors , 76 
Stromberg, John," 277 
"Such a Getting Up Stairs'' 

(song) 35 
Sullivan, Sir Arthur (see 

Gilbert and Sullivan)8,132 
Surrealistic art, 135 
Svcngall, 258 
"Syncopated Sandy" 253 

"Take You In" (rhymes) 59 
Talfourd, Francis, 20,42,44 
Tanguay, Eva, 310 
"Ta-ra, ra-Boom-dey-a" 

(song) 243 
Tarr, Edwin S., 225 
Taylor, E. 0,, 192 
Taylor's Royal Italian 

Marionettes, 192 

Tea for T hree, 311 

Tempest , 3¥ 

Templeton, Fay, 204, 209, 

210, 225, 226,227, 228, 

255, 256, 257,308 
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 168 
Tetlow, Samuel, 91, 137 
Thayer, Blanche, 202 
Thayer, Sally, 49 
Theatre Guild of New York 

City, 313 
"Theatre, The; Three Thousand 

Years of Drama, Acting and 

Stagecraft" 99 
Thomioson, I.'Ir., 45, 53, 74, 

Thompson, PI. D., 49, 73 
Thompson, Harry (brother of 

Lydia Thompson) 195, 196 
ThomDson, Lydia, 90, 109, 

116, 119, 121, 122, 123, 

125, 126, 128. 129, 150, 

181, 189, 192, 194, 196, 

211, 229, 230, 231, 232, 

233, 234, 279 
Thompson troupe, 123 
Thome, Miss Emily, 67, 68 
Thoroughbreds Company, 289 
Three Fast Men of Sa n Fran - 
ci sco, ^he, " 50', 51, 52 

Il]£?®_Si^?i^ers_,_The, 153 
Tli ropp, Fl or_en^£, 264 
'Hger Liliies, '236 
Tik-Tok Ken of Oz, The , 308 
Tin- Pan ATiey ,"^S77 
Tin-pan Alley foriiiula, 315 
Tinnie, Cora, 225 
Tissot, Mme., 211 
Tittel, Miles., 210 
Tivoli company, 248, 249, 

Tivoli Ooera House, 191, 221, 

234, 247, 248, 249, 250, 
251, 2S4, 266, 289, 306 

To Oblige Benson , 123 
Toodle s, 53, 54 
Treasure Island (San Fran- 
cisco) 307 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Tree, Ellon (see Mrs. Charles 

Kean) 63 
Tribute to America, A, 

(transformation scene)243 
Trilby , 258, 268, 270, 301 
Trilby-Svengall act, 268 
Trip to Australia, A, or 

Lola Montez on the F anny 

Major , 25 
Trip to the Moon , A, 162, 

163, 164, 165, 221,222, 

■Jucker, Soohie, 303 

Turn It Up" 5 
Tv;elfth Nip;ht , 144, 145 
Twenty-ninth imisic hall 

(New York) 274 
Twirly VJhirly , 275, 292 

Ulm Sisters, 162 

Uncle Sam's Magic Lan - 
tern , 55 

Under the Cairo-seen Lamp 
Post , 93 

Under the Gasl ight , 91, 93, 


Under the Red Globe , 275 
Undine, the Spirit of the 

Waters , 209, 210 
Unger, Ilk-,, 145 
Union Pacific, 175, 223 
Union Theatre, 31 
U.S ., 282, 284, 285 
United States Senate, 160 
Utopians, 286 

Vail, Olive, 277 

Valdis Sisters, 162 

Vam, Charles, 301 

Vanities , 304 

Vanoni, Mile., 205, 207 

Varieties, The, 58 

Veber, Pierre (author) 305 

Venus Anadyomene, 211 

Verne, Jules, 136, 163, 173, 

Victorian Loftus British 

Blondes, 185, 186 
Vinson, llr., 93 
Voegtlin, William, 156, 157, 

161, 162, 164, 200 
Vokes (Pred, Pawdon, Jessie, 

Rosina, Victoria) 147, 

148, 159 
Volunteer Regiment (Colonel 

Stevenson's) 7 

Wade's Opera House, 154 
Wainwright, Marie, 145 
Wall, Harry, 65 
Wallack's (theatre. New York 

City) 153, 278 
Walter, Gustav, 273, 274 
Walton, Izaak, 261 
Walton, Minnie, 182 
Wamb o Id , Dave , 82 
Wandering Boys, The ,. 142 
War boom inflation, 296 
Ware, Mr. and I/Irs. George, 

151, 152 
Warfield, David, 274, 275, 

276, 282, 284, 299, 308 
Warren, General, 157 
Washington Crossing the 

Delaware, 27 
Washington, George, 255 
Washington Society Girls, 286 
Waters, Ethel, 303 
Y/ayburn, Mrs, 252 
^■fayburn, Ned, 251, 252, 253, 

Weathersby, Eliza, 123, 125, 

Webb, C. H., 68 
Weber and Pie Ids, 270, 271, 

272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 

279, 280, 281, 284, 285, 

286, 283, 293, 294, 297, 

299, 301, 304, 305, 308 
"Weber and Fields" (book) 273 

t^^-yf I 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Weber and Fields Music Hall, 
247, 248. 251, 256, 279, 
280, 287, 293 
ViTeber, Carrie, 305 
Weber, Joe, 247, 276, 282, 

Weber, Jolin, 289 
Weber, Liza, 123, 233 
We'd Ra ther Be Rli^}! 

(satire) 31b 
V/eiffenbach, Herr. J., 157 
Wells, H. G,, 135 
Wells, Sam, 49 
Wells, T, M., 49 
Vifest and Sunshine, 289 
West, W, H., 249 
Weston, Joe, 254 

iVheatleigh, 64, 93 

Wheatley, 81 

"When Chloe Sings a Song" 277 

"\^en Grown Up Ladies Act 
Like Babies" 310 

"\^ere Has My Dolly Gone?" 6 

I'Vhirl of the Tovm, Th e, 282 

^Tiirl of the ^ •oriel, ■rhe ,301 

Whirl-I-G ig, 275, "§"77 

i^Lite, George, 297, 304 

VJhite, Richard Grant, 128 

Vi^hiting and Biirt, 301 

"■'.'hitman, Walt, 10, 11 

'%o' s Got the Countess or 
The Rival House s, 25 

\'rho Ovms the Theatre ? 208 

VJhoo]3-Dee~Doo , 294 

v/idmer, Harry, 193 

Wiethoff, M, Hippolyte, 61 

V'fielshabon, Herr,, 276 

Wife, The , 9, 28 

Y/ild, Jonathan, 214 

Willett, Edward, 159, 160 

Williams, Marie, 232 

V'Jilson, John, 63 

Wilson, John P. 249 

Wilton, Mr., 72, 75 
Wine, Vfoman and Song , 307 
Vang, Teddie, 301 
'•■/inn's Union Saloon, 30 

Winter Garden, 298, 309 
Winter Palace (Russia) 265 
Wip Wan Winkle , 117 
Withers, Charlos, 311 
Wizard of Oz, 203 
Wood, T^Irs., 17 
V,"ood> Mrs. John, 29, 30 
V'food's Museum (New York City) 

116, 117, 153 
Woodhull, G., 49, 65 
VJoodward, John, 141 
VJoodward, I-lrs., 55 
VJoodward's Gardens, 191 
Woolworth Building, 280 
Worrell Sisters (Irene, 
Jenny, Sophie) 64, 35, 
90, 137, 143, 152, 153, 
154, 155, 194 
World's Fair (San Francisco 

1939) 307 
"YJould I Were a Little 

Bird" 6 
Wright, Prank, 202 
VJrong Man in the Right 

Place, The , 148 
Vlycherly^ William, 32 

Yankee Imitation, "Deacon 
Jones, and Seth Slope" 9 

Yeamans, Mrs., 217 

Yellow Dw arf, The , 248 

YeTlowllat, .Th e (b\H' le s que ) 

Yorke , Gus , 282 

Young, Fanny, 195 

"You Told Me You Had Money 
in the Bank" (song) 252 

Yvette, 288 

Zavistowski, 194 
ZavistOY/ski, Alice, 116, 
137, 138, 139 

• tV.' j;vJ- ■. j-T 

;3;^^it5V/'< T>^^ 


INDEX (Concluded) 

Zavlstowski, Christine, 

115, 137, 138, 139 
Zavistov'ski, liimoline, 

116, 118, 120, 137, 
138, 139 

Zavlstowski Sisters (the) 
90, 115, 117,118, 119, 
120,124, 137,138, 139 

Zavistov^skis, the, 192 

Ziegfeld Follies , 296, 

Ziegfeld, Plorenz, Jr», 
271, 280, 296, 297, 
303, 304, 311, 316 



Matthew Gately Jack W, Wilson 


George Ducasse Alan Harrison 

Harrison Fox Patrick O'Neill 

George Hanlin Ettore Rella 

Eddie Shlmano 


Gretchen Clarl' 

Migriel Gomez Dorothy Phillips 

Michael Krepshaw Edward Springer 

Lenore Legere John Ruiz 

Eldridge Warner 

Beatrice Frohlich Anne Nichols 
Elleanore Staschen 


William Facey William K, Noe 

Nelson Jacobsen Thomas O'Leary 
Clara Molir Olive Walsh 


N, Y. A, Art Project under 

Franz Brandt's Direction, 

after original designs by 

Jack Wilson 

M. H. McCarty 

volum:^s published to date 


VOLUffii; I. 








(PART 2) 



(PART 1) 












(PART 1) 

VOLUIffi X. 


(PART 2) 









(PART 1) 

77^/,^.'". (J^i 






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